Puppets a la Carte Special Hanukkah Program

Puppets a la Carte with Nicole Cloeren

Nicole B. Cloeren is the puppet keeper. She prefers improvisational encounters between her puppets and people in public spaces because she feels this allows her audience members to experience things outside of their expectations. It is in this space of surprise and wonder that Nicole feels we can all learn from one another. She strives to bring this element into all her performances and into any space. Nicole is perplexed by the use of the metaphor that “someone is a puppet to someone else,” because the negative connotation goes exactly against what she believes – It is the puppet that breathes new life into its performer and audience even if the puppeteer is the necessary vehicle for this transformation to take place.

Despite what some may believe, Nicole’s PhD does not stand for Doctor of Puppet handling! Nicole earned a PhD in Educational Policy, Planning, & Leadership in Higher Education from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She earned her MA in American Studies also from William & Mary and her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

She has participated in numerous projects related to Theater for Social Change, worked in a Global Education Office, taught English in Austria and Maryland, collaborated with local artists, and traveled extensively through Europe, the US, and Canada as well as briefly to Argentina and Mexico. Nicole speaks fluent German and a little Spanish.

Our puppets are from around the world and will amaze children and adults alike!

Some of Nicole’s puppets have traveled around Europe, South America, and North America with her. Always enjoying the variety of international cultures, Nicole continues to collect puppets from around the world and learn about the various traditions of puppetry. In addition, she strives to learn about varying cultures and individual stories within the US through the help of her puppet friends.

Trivia: Nicole’s smallest puppet is 7 mm wide. The largest puppet she has ever made and worked with was 12 feet tall.

At Puppets a la Carte we bring puppets to life by feeding your imagination. Puppets a la Carte aims to engage children and adults with the wonders of puppetry through a hands on approach.

Our signature presentation begins with a short performance and continues as a highly interactive workshop. The puppeteer will introduce your children to several types of puppets. Nicole then demonstrates how the puppets are used, gives tips for movement and voice techniques, and guides the children to use the puppets following prompts to create 2 minutes skits.

Nicole Cloeren is the founder of Puppets a la Carte, where she uses techniques of improvisation to create a space of surprise and wonder in which we can all learn from one another. She is excited to use puppets to help children celebrate the Hanukkah story and express their Jewish heritage through a unique hands-on experience. Nicole has performed with puppets at numerous indoor and outdoor events around southern California, partners with the Center of the Arts in Pomona, collaborates with playwright Rickerby Hinds, and teaches children to understand and appreciate the outdoors through weekly play-based Kindergarten classes. She has taught English literature to high school students, worked in university-level international education, and speaks fluent German and conversational Spanish. Nicole holds a PhD in Higher Education and a MA in American Studies from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and a BA in English from The College of Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

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