Portable Puppet Theatres & Puppets

events Theatres puppets Shopping about resources Contact
Join the Email List
news archive

JUNE - 2011


• Carla Veldman is going to Annecy 2011 Animation Festival

• Kristen den Hartog - new book
Shadow Puppet Theatre
• Basement Studio Available for Rent

Fresh Ideas in Puppetry Day: Puppet Mongers
• Dan Redican at The Rivoli - June 7th

• Cate & Levi Peekaboo Puppets
• New Vintage

• Karakuri Demonstration at the Japan Foundation
• New Work by Alexander Mergold

• Al Stencell Goes to Germany
• Bill Fussner Goes to Brimfield

• Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club: Summer Adventure Camp
• June Harlowe foods

• Zocalo

JUNE 1 - 12, 2011 - see retail store for hours

Carla Veldman's animation "The Scarf" is one of two successful Canadian submissions to the Annecy 2011 Animation Festival held each year in Annecy, France.

Carla helps out at Open Door Designs helping with among other tasks, production and restoration of vintage puppets.

Visit Carla's Vimeo Page: Click Here


Visit Kristen's website and see more.

Kristen is a novelist, memoir writer, mom, sister, wife, daughter, kids’ book blogger, and perpetual amateur knitter. Her previous novels include Water Wings, The Perpetual Ending, and Origin of Haloes. She lives in Toronto with her husband, visual artist Jeff Winch, and her daughter.



About the book
Born to a postman and an English war bride, a young girl named Ruth begins to grow at an alarming rate. The doctor claims nothing is wrong, but she soars upwards, and is the size of an adult by kindergarten. Though ostracized and teased by the other children, she longs to be among them.
Ruth’s giant perspective gives her a bird’s eye view that conveys her profound capacity for empathy. She can see over place and time – back to the days before she was born, through to the lives of other giants, and even into the intimate thoughts of her mother and father.

"Shadow Puppet Theatre is a professional shadow puppet troupe located in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. We produce puppet shows, design and build our own puppets and lead workshops in making and manipulating puppets for people of all ages — we are interested in the history of puppetry and in learning old techniques as well as developing new ones."

Several years ago I met Mat and Arlene at Puppets Up when they were starting their venture et voila - they did it!

Shadow Puppet Theatre
Mat F.Kelly: Technical Director; Vic Thepmontry: Puppet Designer; ArleneThomas: Artistic Director


More Information: www.shadowpuppettheatre.com


The basement studio is now finished and available for rent
for small meetings and events. A beautiful clean new space, there is approximately 350 sq ft of floor space. 2 tables, 12 chairs, microwave, kettle, coffeemaker, fridge and bathroom.

$15/hr - 8 hour minimum
$20/hr by the hour.

more info: info@opendoordesigns.ca , (416) 531-1290

The Toronto School of Puppetry with support from the Raucous Caucus

Sunday June 5, 2011
A one-day conference, festival and good time.
Puppetmongers’ Studio
401 Logan Avenue , Unit 219
(upstairs at Dundas Street East and Logan )
More Info

Full Day and and Evening Tickets available
Reservations strongly suggested. This event usually sells out. Space is Limited.
All day and evening $100
Evening performance alone
$25 advance ticket or $30 at the door

“...a wonderfully twisted puppet act that leaves me crying tears of
Andrew Wallace, Metro News

Dan Redican
and his VERY BAD Puppets

Hosted by Ryan Belleville
with special guests:
A Classy Affair
The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks
and more!
June 7, 9 pm The Rivoli, 334 Queen W.


Every Item Is One Of A Kind - All Natural & Reclaimed Materials and
Handmade In Canada - $25 ea. For more Cate & Levi puppets click here to visit our retail store page.
Composite - 50's-60's
12" - $22ea
Composite - '50's - $25
Little Red Riding Hood
French marionettes - 11"
Great condition except for LRR who has some issues
$75 for set
Pelham - Bengo
5" x 6"
1960's - 55$

Pelham-SL - Pinocchio
12"- 1960's
1960's - $75

Pelham - Wooden Head Girl
12" - 1962-69 -With Box

Pelham - SL - Frog
12" - 1962-1989 -With Box
Mint - $150
Sri Lanka: Does anyone know who this character is?

Sri Lanka
new - $55

This exquisite horse marionette (it works as beautifully as it looks) and box appear to be as old as they look - I am guessing '20's-30's but I could be completely wrong - does anyone have any ideas? (Private Collection)

I am also pleased to say that we now have some provenance on these wonderful Czech puppets were brought into the store. They are in mint condition and we now know that they were made after 1948. They were purchased "as old" in the early 1950's.

Radek Licek from the Puppet Museum in Chrudim in the Czech Republic wrote this about these puppets:

"The puppets displayed in your slideshow are small marionettes from a serial production for family theatres. They were manufactured by Mr. Lubor Svorcik (*1911 - ?) from Pardubice, Czechoslovakia.
He obtained a licence for "a production of art puppets" in 1948. He designed and produced the puppets himself, only with a help of his wife until the early 1980´s."

The 26 puppets are about 10" tall and including the controller 24" tall. The owners would like to sell them. They are available individually @ $35 ea or the set of 26 for $780. If you would like to purchase them, please contact us at info@opendoordesigns.ca or call (416) 531-1290.


I attended the Japanese Mechanical Doll Demonstration on May 24th by Tamaya Shobei, Karakuri Ningyo Master at The Japan Foundation on Bloor St. The dolls were beautiful and to think that Tamaya Shobei is the last master of his kind. Fortunately, he has several apprentices working with him.

"The Japan Foundation, Toronto is very pleased to welcome Master Craftsman Tamaya Shobei IX for a special demonstration of Karakuri Ningyo, elaborate mechanical dolls that first became popular in Japan in the 17th century. Mr. Shobei represents the ninth generation of a line of esteemed artisans sharing his name who specialize in Karakuri Ningyo. Technologically advanced and aesthetically beautiful, Karakuri Ningyo are considered the forebears of modern-era Japanese robotics.

Mr. Shobei will be demonstrating two types of Karakuri Ningyo. Perhaps the best known form of these dolls, the Cha-Hakobi-Ningyo (tea-carrying doll) holds a tray, delivers a cup of tea to a guest, and then returns to its original position. The Yumi-Hiki Douji (arrow-shooting child), considered the pinnacle of Karakuri Ningyo craftsmanship for its detailed movements and facial expression, can pick up an arrow and shoot it at a target.

Tamaya Shobei IX is visiting Canada as part of the Museum of Civilization's new exhibition, Japan: Tradition. Innovation, on display from May 20 - October 10, 2011.

Visit the following sites for more information about Karakuri Ningyo:


New Work by Alexander Mergold

These delightful fleece and foam tabletop puppets are the latest concoctions to come out of Alexander's busy workshop.


Visit his blog and see more!

Al Stencell goes to Germany See more about Al and his wonderful books in our Newsletter, October 2010

"The puppeteer showman at Stuttgart was Alfons Richter
At the Stuttgart Canstatter Fair mid -week in late Sept. 2010 Mr. Richter
did a pre-sold 10 a.m. show for 22 kindergarten age children. The show lasted 40 minutes. The basis of the puppet play was that the princess was lured off into the woods by a witch. The poise find her sweater and eventually the king and hero and the crocodile find the princess and take care of the bad witch. Mr. Richter and his daughter who runs a shooting gallery only play 2 to 3 fairs each season. They play schools in the winter time.

* The Stuttgart fair runs along the same dates as the Munich Oktoberfest but where Munich's focus is the beer halls; Stuttgart has a bigger midway. This year 1/3 of the exhibition in one end of the fairground was taken over by a huge agricultural exhibition. Puppet booths show up at both Munich and Stuttgart. Mr. Richter has been going to Stuttgart for decades.
i tried to find the Laurenberger touring puppet show but couldn't. This is an old family of puppet showmen that tour there show much like a circus with extensive use of posters, The show has a few old wagons that are very well kept and painted. However, they have eluded me on my trips."

Photos & text by Al Stencell

"Fritz Fey and his wife Saraswathi were just the greatest hosts when i was there. The museum is in the old part just a few blocks once you come into the main street. The street to it is a very narrow street which first appears as a walking street ONLY. However you can drive down as far as the museum and then you see that there is a side street off to the right and about ten metered parking spaces. if they are full there is another bigger parking lot further along down by the river and a short block walk back to the museum. The main street there has several good bakery and coffee shops that are open early.
i would strongly recommend anyone interested in puppets that are going to Europe make an effort to see this museum and also the Stadt Museum in Munich.
It is these touring puppet showmen and the fairgrounds that truly allowed the puppet show to flourish in Europe. Sadly this is not portrayed in many collections as it is so well done in these two outstanding museums.
Both Fritz and Saraswathi speak perfect English. Connected to the museum is a wonderful gift shop that also has tables where you can enjoy good coffee and pastries.

Photos & text by Al Stencell

Bill Fussner recently went to Brimfield Antique Show and took a few puppet related photos.

The Brimfield Antique Show is the largest outdoor antique show in the world, held since1959 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, three times each year, with thousands of dealers attending! Brimfield is one hour west of Boston.

Junction Triangle Outreach Location

Camp Registration now open
Ages: 5- 17
July 4th- August 26th

More info: www.dovercourtkids.com

email: Tony Palermo: paldover21@kwik.net

Perth Dupont Community Garden
Started just as a garden with individual plots in 2005 by the City Councillor Adam Giambrone, it has been transformed into a thriving Community Garden, and is now a center for Urban Agriculture. With ethnic and lifestyle diversity, our garden is a place to grow food, flowers, friendships, and personal social and leadership skills. READ MORE

June Harlowe Foods
1627 Dupont Street
(Between Dundas & Symington, south side)
Toronto, Ontario
M6P 3S8


Material Donations Needed

Donations may be dropped off at Open Door Designs or email Nancy Davis Halifax for more information.

fabric, wool, embroidery floss, needles, crochet hooks, old sweaters

RED WAGON COLLECTIVE was formed in 2006 in response to our desire to deepen our artistic, collaborative, and community-engaged practices through residency projects that would enable us to develop both intensive and extensive relationships in the Junction - a rapidly changing neighbourhood in Toronto's west end. We share a desire to work collaboratively with artists and non-artists to create work that inspires new conversations; softens boundaries between groups separated by age, culture, ability, and economic status; promotes the presence of art in everyday life and contributes to increasing public engagement in community development. The work we create with communities is used in producing exhibitions, public installations, and celebratory performance events.We are currently working within the walls of the Evangeline Shelter.

If you would like to join our emailing list and receive our Newsletter and updates regarding special events and new products at Open Door Designs, email us at Subscribe. To un-subscribe click here: Unsubscribe.

Handcrafted Doorway Puppet Theatres, Portable Puppet Theatres & Puppets of all kinds for everyone

Online Store - Retail Store - Contact - Links & Resources