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Exploring Life & Business with Meghann Henry of Mesner Puppet Theater

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meghann Henry.

Internationally recognized puppeteer, Paul Mesner, established Mesner Puppet Theatre (MPT) in 1987 to provide:

“Innovative storytelling that captures children’s imagination and inspires communities”.

Over the past three decades, the organization has captivated nearly two million people through our productions and educational programming. Audiences delight in the craftsmanship of the puppets, which range from glove puppets to marionettes to innovative shadow and object-based puppetry. MPT holds the distinction of receiving three Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA-USA) Citations of Excellence. The UNIMA-USA award was created by Jim Henson to promote high-quality puppetry in the United States and is considered the ‘Academy Award” of puppetry.

MPT uses humor and heart to present stories and education programs that connect to the complex social-emotional experiences of our young audience. Each year we engage more than 20,000 young people and adults in our programs presented at schools, libraries, and arts centers locally and nationally.

The organization is currently led by Producing Artistic Director Meghann Henry, Mike Horner, Director of Puppetry Arts, and Alex Espy, Director of Education. This team’s knowledge and experience in theatre for young audiences, puppetry, and arts integration is ensuring MPT’s history of excellence will continue while they evolve to meet and inspire today’s audiences.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Over 34 years the company has evolved and changed with the times. We began primarily as a touring company but over time, we took on a mainstage season, a building, and education programs. During Covid-19, we reflected on what we do best and how we could have the greatest impact on young people in the city, which led us to go back to our roots focusing on touring and education programs that meet students and families where they are at schools and libraries. This led us to leave our longtime building on Linwood, a difficult choice but one that has freed us to become more responsive and innovative during rapidly changing times.

We of course, dove into digital programming during the pandemic and launched a very successful digital series “In the Workshop” which uses puppetry to support social-emotional learning for K-1st graders. We see this programming extending long into the future, working hand in hand with our in person offerings.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Mesner Puppet Theater?
In addition to our youth programming, we also create custom puppets and videos for marketing and advertising. We would love for people to know they can contract us out to energize their messaging through puppetry. We believe that “When Puppets Talk People Listen”. This custom work is key to financially supporting our mission-based work with young people.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Inspiring people to play is a guiding principal in all of our work. Play is an integral component of learning…it’s a safe way to explore new ideas, assess risk, and refine social behaviors. When we see young people and parents playing together after a show, or when students continue to act out lessons from our education programs, we know we have done our job.

Pricing:

  • Touring – $450-$650 locally

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Personal Photo By: Travis Young @ Austin Walsh Studios Additional Photos #1-3 and #7&8 Travis Young @ Austin Walsh Studios #4-6 Mesner Puppet Theater

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