Claudia Orenstein, Theatre Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, has spent nearly two decades writing on contemporary and traditional puppetry in the US and Asia. Recent publications include Reading the Puppet Stage: Reflections on the Dramaturgy of Performing Objects and the co-edited volumes Puppet and Spirit: Ritual Religion and Performing Object, volumes 1 and 2, with Tim Cusack, Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations, with Alissa Mello and Cariad Astles, and The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance, with Dassia Posner and John Bell. She worked as dramaturg on Tom Lee and kuruma ningyō master Nishikawa Koryū V’s Shank’s Mare. She is a Board Member of UNIMA-USA and Associate Editor of Asian Theatre Journal and was the recipient of a 2021-22 Fulbright Research Fellowship for research on ritual puppetry in Japan. 


Karen Smith, an Australian citizen, born in 1954, with dual citizenship in the United States, trained and worked as a puppeteer, designer and builder at the Shri Ram Centre Puppet Repertory, Jan Madhyam, and Ishara Puppet Theatre in New Delhi (India), and studied Javanese wayang kulit at Sanggar Redi Waluyo in Jakarta (Indonesia). She is a member of UNIMA India (1986- ) and a member of UNIMA-USA (2005- ), a member of the latter’s Board of Directors (2007-2014, 2017-2023), and its President (2008-2010, 2022-2023). She has attended international conferences and participated with curations, presentations and consulting in puppetry as a cultural heritage, with a special interest in wayang kulit. In this capacity she served as curator for several exhibitions of Indonesian Wayang in India and the United States and contributed to a UNESCO photo documentary on Indonesian Wayang. A member of UNIMA International’s Executive Committee since 2012, she served as President of the Publication & Contemporary Writing Commission (2016-2021), President of the Publication & Communication Commission (2010-2016), and was a member of the North America Commission (2008-2016) and the Research Commission (2004-2012). Since 2010, she is the editor-in-chief of the World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts (WEPA), responsible for updating and mounting the 3-language, 2nd edition onto its own website of UNIMA International (wepa.unima.org). In 2016, she was elected Vice-President and, in 2021, President of UNIMA International.

Book Review Editor

Skye Strauss is a visiting lecturer at Baylor University and a graduate of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University.  Her research spans puppetry, stage design, and scenography to highlight the role materiality plays in the creative process across performing arts.  Her writing has been featured in the book Theatre Artisans and their Craft and in the publications TD&TPuppetry International, Intonations, and PAJ. She is a regular ATHE and ASTR participant in a variety of working groups. When she is not in the library or the classroom, you can find Skye making magical things or slowly developing a show-worthy handstand at the gym.

Exhibition Review Editor

Dr. Jungmin Song is Assistant Professor in Residence at the Department of Dramatic Arts and Research Associate at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. Korean-born, she studied Costume and Textile at Seoul National University and Theatre Design at Central Saint Martins, University Arts London before completing a Ph.D. in performance from the University of Roehampton, London.

Her artistic practice, research interests, and teachings include contemporary theatre, performance art, and puppetry. She curated the exhibitions Shakespeare and Puppetry (2020), Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning (2021) and Taking Care: Puppets and Their Collectors (2024) at the Ballard. She has published in Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Contemporary Theatre Review, Asian Theatre Journal and was the editor of a special issue of Puppet Notebook on Shakespeare and puppetry.

Performance Review Editor

Colette Searls is associate professor of theatre and head of performance at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she teaches acting, directing, and puppetry, and has devised award-winning puppetry performances. Her book, A Galaxy of Things: the Power of Puppets and Masks in Star Wars and Beyond is now available from Routledge Press. Directing credits include Albert’s Dream at the Brilliant Baltimore international arts festival, Noah Haidle’s Vigils at The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (four Helen Hayes Award nominations), and Fixed Boundary (with Leibe Wetzle’s Lunatique Fantastique) at San Francisco’s Exit Theatre (“Best of the San Francisco Fringe Festival”). 

Editorial Assistant and Layout Assistant

Melissa Flower-Gladney is currently pursuing her PhD in Theatre and Performance at City University of New York. She works as a theatre director, performance artist, and dramaturg originally from Houston, Texas. She is a specialist in physical theatre practices and has trained throughout her career with SITI Company as well as SCOT in Toga, Japan. Her research interests include materiality, corporeality, new documentary theatre, ecofeminist performance practices, dance studies, motherhood and citizenship. She is published in (M)other Perspectives: Staging Motherhood in 21st Century North American Theatre and Performance.


Kugutsu Dance and Sumo tradition, Hachiman Kohyo Jinjya, Fukuoka, Japan (Photo: Claudia Orenstein)

Felice Amato, Assistant Professor, School of Visual Arts, Boston University 

Vincent Anthony, General Secretary, UNIMA-USA

Cariad Astles, Central School of Speech and Drama

John Bell, Director, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut.

Mari Boyd, Professor Emeritus, Theatre and Performance Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo

Bradford Clark, Professor, Department of Theater and Film, Bowling Green State University

Matthew Isaac Cohen, Professor, Puppet Arts, University of Connecticut

Kathy Foley, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

Kenneth Gross, Professor of English, University of Rochester

Aja Marneweck, Convenor of the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects (LoKO) at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape

Alissa Mello, Editor Puppetry International; University of Exeter, Department of Communications, Drama and Film.

Andrew Periale, Founding editor, Puppetry International

Dassia N. Posner, Associate Professor of Theatre and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Northwestern University

Paulette Richards, Independent Researcher

Colette Searls Associate Professor, Theatre, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 

Karen Smith, President UNIMA-USA; President UNIMA InternationalNancy Staub, Chair, Advisory Committee, Center for Puppetry Arts Museum