Schweinfurth offers class on making marionettes

Youth age 10 and up have a unique opportunity to take a workshop on making and using marionette puppets at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn this fall. Dawn Jordan, who has been making and performing with marionettes since she was 10, will teach a five-week class that will culminate with a public performance during the Schweinfurths Holiday Traditions event on Dec. 8.

“This is only the second time I have taught this kind of class, and it was 20 years ago, so I am very excited to do it again,” Jordan said.

She began making marionettes after finding a 1929 book by Edith Ackley in her grandparents’ attic. Marionettes are puppets on strings. While they look difficult to manipulate, Jordan found it easy – “except when strings get twisted; that can be complicated.”

Jordan, who operates Dawn Jordan String Theatre, plans to bring 20 of her marionettes to the first class to let the students to try out. Then class participants will make design and learn to make their own moving puppets using papier-maché, cloth, and wood. All materials will be provided.

“This is a great hands-on puppet workshop where students will sculpt the figures, sew clothes, and make wooden controllers with screws and string,” she said.

After the students decide on what they are going to create, Jordan plans to bring all the characters together in a sort of variety show with music and possibly a story. The form of the performance will depend on the marionettes that the students make.

“The beauty of puppetry is the combination of art, story, music, and the viewer who will suspend reality,” Jordan said. “Even though the controller is pulling the strings, it is the onlooker who can experience its magic.”

The class will meet 10 a.m. to noon on five Saturdays from Nov. 2 through Dec. 7, 2019. There will be no class on Nov. 16. The performance will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. While the class is for youth ages 10 and up, Jordan can take adults as well.

The cost for the class is $60 for Schweinfurth members and $75 for nonmembers. To register, link to our website at

At a glance
What: Make a Marionette Puppet with Dawn Jordan String Theatre
When: Nov. 2, 9, 23, and 30, and Dec. 7 and 8, 2019
Where: Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn
Who: For ages 10 and up
Cost: $60 for Schweinfurth members; $75 for nonmembers