Nyberg: Director, professor explains life in puppetry


Bart Roccoberton says he didn’t start out wanting to be a puppeteer, but that’s just how life ended up.

He’s the famed director and professor of puppet arts at UConn, known around the world for his work and commonly called in for his expertise.

He says he didn’t discover puppets until he was 21, though his mom has told him she found tell-tale creature signs around the house when he was little.

His students have performed or built puppets for Broadway shows, film and television including Sesame Street and Avenue Q, and have worked with the Boston Pops to build its famed late conductor, Arthur Fielder.

Related Content: Local puppeteers use craft to bring lessons to life

“I recently received a message from the State Puppet Theater of Mongolia and they told me that they are working with Soviet puppets in Czechoslovakia and I could help them update, so there’s a good possibility I might have a trip to Mongolia later this summer to work on a production of Swan Lake…I’ve done a lot of work in China and Taiwan and Hong Kong, never would have considered that that would be a part of my life,” he said.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppety is honoring Roccoberton with an exhibit from May 2019 through the end of September called “It’s always Pandemonium” with about 100 puppets created by him over the decades.


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