Puppets on Stage
Puppetry is one of the oldest types of performance art in America. The earliest traditions were imitations of old world forms brought to this country by immigrants from Italy, France, and Great Britain. Itinerant 18th- and 19th-century American puppeteers constructed puppets and stages for portability as they moved from town to town, performing anywhere from formal theaters to the spontaneous atmospheres of taverns, city street corners, and fairs. By the early 20th century, audiences would travel to established vaudeville stages to see puppets of all kinds that prompted both laughter and tears.