ABOUT THE ARTISTS OF THE PUPPETS & PLAYERS LITTLE THEATRE

Laurie Branham grew up surrounded by an artistic family. Working with her father, a set designer, she learned at a very young age how to draw, paint and design. When she was eight yearls old, her father built her very first marionette stage. Together, Laurie and her father created sets and puppets for many enchanting productions. This knowledge acquired early in her life, stood Laurie in good stead when she later became the designer and builder of The Puppets & Players Little Theatre. A graduate of the Drama Studio of London at Berkley, California, Laurie combines her talents for art and drama by designing and building all the marionettes and sets for her puppet theatre. In addition, Laurie performs as a puppeteer and creates voices for many of the characters in her productions.

Gil Olin has an extensive background in entertainment. He received a BFA in Theatre Performing from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. His professional credits include performances at the Lyric Stage in Boston, the San Francisco Repertory Company in San Francisco and the Fox Theater in St. Louis. A multi-talented artist, Gil performs both as an actor and as a puppeteer for The Puppets & Players Little Theatre, and also writes the scripts and co-produces all of their marionette shows.

Laurie Branham and Gil Olin are also accomplished educators. They believe that: "the only way to make a real and lasting impression in this world is to reach out to each child as an individual and help that child develop a sense of self-worth by exploring their own imagination." By combining the art of theatre with the art of puppetry, they found that they could accomplish this in an educational and entertaining way. Laurie and Gil say: "By watching and enjoying a live performance, children can learn about themselves and have fun at the same time. If children can be inspired to create a puppet show of their own, they will experience the joy of being creative, and will develop the confidence to communicate their own ideas. They will also learn how to listen to the ideas of others. When children learn to work together in this way, a great step forward has been made."