Trouble Puppet Theater Company is dedicated to the creation of exceptional works of puppet theater, to the promotion of the art of puppetry, and to the support of its practitioners. We dig as deeply as we can into the possibilities that puppetry offers, in its many forms and styles, and seek to balance risk and exploration with a drive for excellent craft and technique. Our work is inspired not only by our artistic passion but by our social, political, and human convictions: that there can be no end to the struggle for knowledge and compassion, against injustice and intolerance.
Trouble Puppet Theater Company was founded in 2004 by Connor Hopkins. For several years the company performed booth shows and parade puppetry at festivals, bars, coffeeshops, non-profit bookstore collectives, and other places where you can get away with doing rowdy, farcical, sometimes political puppet shows.
From 2005 to 2009 Trouble Puppet created a series of street-theater events for First Night Austin, including a 13-foot-long ship on wheels, crewed by ghosts, and a "gypsy" wagon that unfolded to become a carnival with a game, sideshows, and fortune teller. Around 2006, Trouble Puppet began appearing as an opening act for plays by Salvage Vanguard Theater and soon became a sponsored project of SVT.
By September 2007, Trouble Puppet had shifted its focus to fully staged theatrical productions using primarily tabletop puppets (although the occasional booth show still works its way in). Its subsequent productions include multiple iterations of both The Gunpowder Plot: Or, How I Became a Catholic Suicide Bomber and The Case of The Haymarket Riot; Frankenstein: The Trouble Puppet Show; an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle; and Riddley Walker, based on the novel by Russell Hoban. Shorter works include The Dustbowl; The Cosmic Clock; Butcher; and The Crapstall Street Boys.
In 2011 Trouble Puppet partnered with Glass Half Full Theater to produce The Austin Puppet Incident, a twice-yearly night of short puppet works by local and national artists. In 2012, Trouble Puppet was recognized by the Austin Critics Table for bringing The Secret Agents' show Poste Restante (voted Best Touring Show) to Austin.
Trouble Puppet has been nominated for many B. Iden Payne Awards, and has won Outstanding Production of a Drama, Outstanding Director (twice), Outstanding Sound Design, Outstanding Original Script, Outstanding Puppetry, and a Special Certificate for Puppetry. It also won a Critics Table Award for Sound Design. The company has received support from the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Department, and several grants from the Jim Henson Foundation.
Connor Hopkins, Producing Artistic Director, Head Troublemaker
Trouble Puppet's founder and artistic director, Connor Hopkins, is also the Operations Coordinator of the Austin Scenic Co-op, which has received grants from the Theater Communications Group to support the reuse and recycling of scenic materials and reduce the waste, cost, and labor of producing staged work. He has written and directed a dozen puppet plays as the artistic director of Trouble Puppet and, previously, of The Personal Demons of the Republic. He has been honored to receive awards for Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Original Script, and Outstanding Puppetry from the B. Iden Payne Committee, and recognition for Best New Play by an Austin Playwright from the Austin Theater Examiner.Kathryn Rogers, Producing Partner