Meet the Staff!
Puppetry design/ performance, special FX artist,
Stop-Motion Puppetry, Filmmaker, Performance Artist, Sculptor
Since 1999 Ricki has continued to color outside the lines of what people expect when they think of puppets and puppeteers. Ricki has performed thousands of street shows, created the popular underground TV puppet show, Dante's Place (1999). Ricki’s work has been produced,/performed, and commissioned by such as a Bunraku puppetry performance of Steinbeck’s "The Pearl" funded by UC Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center and the John Steinbeck society (2002). The Death Show a puppet opera about life's final bow, funded in part by the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Dept. (2009), as well as his all Puppet Burlesque show A night at Miss Mimi's funded by a performance art grant from from the Creative Capital Foundation.
In 2007 Ricki with the help of grant funds and generous donations from supporters, formed the Non Profit theater troupe, and Outreach Program Geppetto Dreams Puppet Company. Throughout his career he has striven to pass his art on to the next generation, teaching workshops to both children and adults on puppet design construction and performance, creating an award winning workshop on designing puppets from recyclable and found items, and developed summer internship programs for at risk teens.
In 2017, as a resident artist at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, he started the pilot program “The Puppetry Institute” and later found a more permanent home by partnering my program with the Santa Cruz Museum of Discovery, where he continues to pass on his knowledge to all who come through the doors.
SHELLY "SHARK" AVENELL
ARTIST, EDUCATOR, SEA-CREATURE?
Shark is a lover of all manner of beasties; real or fantasy, fluffy or slimy. They see wonder in every creature! As a tiny tot, they were playing with bugs and drawing made-up monsters.
Somehow, both became career paths!
They are now a professional naturalist with an environmental studies degree, and a free-lance artist. Shark has been teaching ecological science to 1st-6th graders as a professional naturalist since 2015, and has countless hours of public volunteer work as an environmental educator since the mid 2000s.
Shark has been a free-lance magical creature artist for well over a decade, with a wide range of knowledge in both digital and traditional artforms; including digital painting, retro pixel art, fine-art painting, art-dolls, up-cycled toys and monster masks.
Shark believes that passionate education can create a better future!
In the mean time, they also believe current reality can be amended with a bit of fantasy.
Annamarie MacLeod lived in New York and Chicago before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has worked locally with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Bus Barn Stage Company, Woman's Will, the New Conservatory Theatre Center, the Pear Ave Theatre, theatre Q, the Ragged Wing Ensemble, and Dragon Productions.
Ms MacLeod taught theatre with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and was a member of the 2010 and 2012 Shakespeare workshops that the Arabian Shakespeare Festival held at Al Ain University. Ms. MacLeod trained in New York at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
ACTOR, PUPPETEER, ARTIST
Star is a student at UCSC who has been with the institute since May 2017, has performed in the Doctor Mercurio show as a dragoneer and pyro ornithologist (one who studies birds that burst into flames), as well as the Hunter S. Thomson show with Ricki Vincent. Star studies art and game design, and has experience with many forms of media both 3D, 2D and 4D.
Star has been face-painting since 2016 and is eager to face any transformation challenge. Star also has thorough experience in theatre makeup and tech. Star has a background in music, and has been performing on stage for at least a decade, whether it's for a musical, play, or dance performance.
The Puppetry Institute has been a place Star can learn, expand on skills, and be around other passionate people at the institute. Star has been passionate about puppets since childhood and is so happy that passion can come to life.
Social Media Outreach
A seasoned performer and arts professional, Katie Hahn is currently the point person for community outreach efforts at the Hammer Theatre in San Jose, where she curates social media and virtual events. Formerly of Brooklyn, NY, she spent time in New York working with the NY Fringe Festival, off-off Broadway and others, as well as producing a monthly series of new work one acts out of her living room featuring visual and performing artists, writers, directors and musicians from the tri-state area and beyond.
Hahn is also an experienced educator, having committed to bridging the gap between the arts and education, and bringing issues of cultural relevance to light with a background in K-12 classroom teaching, tutoring children with specific needs across the spectrum and building curriculum that links the arts to other STEM subjects. She recently piloted the very first student matinee program at the Hammer Theatre and is completing certification in Performing Arts Industry Essentials with NYU-Tisch School of Performing Arts.