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Johanna Smith is a Professor of Puppetry, Theatre Education, and Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino and the author of Puppetry in Theatre and Arts Education: Head, Hands, and Heart (Methuen Drama). She has directed puppet shows that have taken her and her college students around the world, but she is just as happy playing with puppets in a room full of preschoolers.  She believes in the power of laughter and creative re-use to inspire a love of learning. You can see what she’s up to at



Director: Selected puppetry productions include The Odyssey (CSUSB, National Puppetry Festival of Bulgaria, Chonqing Children’s Theatre Season), Math Mayhem (Streaming video, CSUSB), Think Big! (Monterey Aquarium), Rapunzel and Other Hair Tales (Discovery Theatre, Smithsonian Institution), From the Streets to the Screen (with Paul Zaloom, Clare Dolan, and Tim Lagasse for CSU Summer Arts). Puppet designer: The Witches (Lewis Family Playhouse), Alicia in Wonder Tierra (CSUSB), Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse (dir: Michelle Freire, CSUSB/Riverside Children’s Theatre).  Puppet movement coach: The Nightingale (dir: Moises Kaufman, La Jolla Playhouse for puppet designer Chris Green),  Puppeteer: Who Said Miaow? (dir: Gina Pavlova, Skirball Puppetry Festival), Red, Blue White (Dir: Gina Pavlova, 24th St Theatre), The Microbe Show (dir: Donald Devet, Smithsonian Institution), co-founder of 5foot2 Productions puppet company (with Elena Velasco), former company member, Bread and Puppet Theatre. Teaching/Curriculum highlights: Wrote and obtained accreditation for the Theatre Credential Waiver Program for CSUSB, Assessment Coordinator and main Curriculum writer CSUSB Quarter to Semester Transformation,Guest professional Royal Central School of Drama, Theatre and Puppetry specialist for the California Arts Project. Current chair of the Puppetry in Education and Therapy (PIET) Committee of the Puppeteers of America.

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Reviews for Puppetry in Theatre and Arts Education: Head, Hands, and Heart:

“The first five chapters are dedicated to technique, teaching puppet manipulation, and how to endow the puppet with meaning, intention, and personality. This focus on technique above esthetics relies more on the child's imaginative interactions with the world, rather than asking them to create a functional puppet from their initial engage­ment. Smith instead has the students work with newspapers, plastic shopping bags, and scarves in these early chapters, skipping construction or design until later assignments when students have a better understanding of the functions they need a puppet to have in service of storytelling. This structure is one of the strengths of the text, relieving the esthetic pressure from students who might feel intimidated by the "craftiness" of puppets also helps students engage with the technique without the distraction of the potentially imperfect visual."

-Cully Long, Youth Theatre Journal

“Johanna Smith has created a beautiful resource for teachers, artists, and anyone else interested in exploring the art of puppetry with children.  Puppetry in Theatre and Arts Education is equal parts how-to and inspiration, with an emphasis on how puppetry allows us to be more connected as collaborators while activating learning through many disciplines.”

-Cheryl Capezzuti, Puppetry Journal, Spring 2019

“Covering the essentials of puppetry with activities suitable for adults and children of any age, Smith's guide is easy to follow, thought provoking and a handy reference book for anyone with a professional or personal interest in puppetry.” –  Drama & Theatre Magazine

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