About Butterworth Productions


Butterworth’s puppetry has taken him from performing locally at fairs and schools to an international career, leading large scale educational workshops, appearing in operas and classical music festivals, film, and television. He picks varied projects, often which involve collaboration, such as constructing a puppet theater around an adult tricycle, helping to create an Inuit show in Nunavut, Canada, and designing sets for the St. Petersburg, Florida production of Strauss’ comic opera “Die Fledermaus”

His work, breathing intellectual life into this elegant, sometimes underrated art form, has not gone without notice. He has been supported by the National Foundation for the Arts since 1979, and in 2005 he was honored with the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, for which he humbly allowed his puppets to take the bow. The grand sets, articulated special effects, and puppet staging surround the exquisitely moving marionettes and shadow puppets as they draw all into the world of Dan Butterworth. Dan has also produced hundreds of pen and ink drawings, some of which are precursors to his imaginative marionettes.
‘Artscope Magazine 2009′



How to make a Marionette!

1.) Start with a beautiful piece of pine & for the legs you will want a piece that is 2 1/4 inches square, 12 inches long, with strait grain, freshly faced.

Choose your wood carefully. Check for knots and even grain.

Beautiful PineTwo

2.) Make your pattern. Draw or sketch the idea in its true si
ze on a large piece of card stock or heavy paper

puppets,theatre,carftsman,template,woodworking,,traditional skills,step by step process,

3.) Cut out your patterns to match the shape of your drawing and desired puppet piece.. 

puppets,theatre,carftsman,template,woodworking,,traditional skills,step by step process,

4.) Trace the leg patters on two sides of the pine block. To make the left leg, flip one of the patters.

Make patterns

Make sure there is a small bit of wood showing outside the pattern. This will make the cutting more accurate.

Patterns StartTwo

Butterworth Puppet Making Class

Showing puppets to children2011 West Kingstown Center for the Arts puppet class. Dan Butterworth conducts quick  puppet class with children and adults from Rhode Island and beyond. Class shows how to quickly assemble sophisticated Hand Rod puppets and decorate with hair, clothing, different facial expressions, and ‘specialty add-ons’. Items can also be constructed to put in puppet hands. After puppets are made methods for  manipulation and making characters appear without puppeteer being seen are shown.

Boy Admires Puppet

Beginner Classes
Beginner Classes & School Residencies: Dan Butterworth & Butterworth Productions has performed and conducted residencies from China to Europe, from the Arctic North to Mexico. The award winning events are geared to each audience, each particular celebration. Working closely with teachers ahead of the date, workshops can be used to…

Master Classes
Butterworth travels to center locations to conduct these wooden marionette classes. All that’s needed is a medium sized space, a few simple tools, and five or more students. Each participant learns the following: 1.) How to lay out patterns on selected wood pieces. 2.) Methods for cutting to the piece…
Marinet Pieces

Puppet Making Classes
Specialty Classes and Events: Butterworth Productions teaches groups of all ages and sizes, we also help build large and small events and creations in many dynamic mediums & themes. From 12 foot tall puppets, masks, moving head pieces, layered large forests with moving creatures, permanent museum interactive displays, flying puppets,…



Butterworth performances & installations can be tailored to any specific location or celebration.

Large scale Town-Wide events includes award winning residencies with puppets geared to each age group.

Parades with flying puppets, hand and rod puppets, and now Wheelchair Puppetry can be formed around thematic subjects dear to any community as well.

Contact Butterworth Productions to find a performance or event coming close to your area.

Or create your own event in an open field, school, theater or  festival location! We can turn your space into a work of art!

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