Puppeteer Bios

Sylvia Segal PuppeteerSylvia Segal
Hi I’m Sylvia Segal. It’s the kids’ reaction to our performances and our puppets that keeps me coming back each year-since 2005! To them our puppets are ‘real’ kids just like them. From the young boy who stuck his face into our puppet’s mouth to repeat his question, to the star struck grade 1’s who ask our puppets for an autograph! They keep me smiling!

Denise Shanker denise-and-lise
HI! My name is Denise. I have been a puppeteer since 2009. Realizing the ability we have to reach out and actively engage young minds led me to volunteer with TAP. Using puppets as a live medium gives us the ability to present programs, in an entertaining, yet informative environment. I believe acceptance is gained through knowledge. This program empowers kids to take action and make change. What could be more inspiring? I love what I do!

Sharon Kamiel Sharon
Hi, my name is Sharon and I’ve just completed my 3rd year as a puppeteer with TAP. As a retired Social Worker (I currently volunteer with special needs children at Holland Bloorview) who happens to have a background in theatre, this could not be a more perfect mix for me! Where else could I make new friends (the humans, not the puppets!), gain a fresh approach to drama, as well as enhance my special needs counseling experiences? Performing workshops with puppets on social issues (bullying; being a good friend; accepting other’s differences), as well as on disabilities, is not the only rewarding part – it’s the magic that happens when the children converse with the puppets at the end of every show. And, let’s not forget about the hugs and high 5’s we get…….I mean the puppets get…….of course!! That’s the coolest part!

jeremy & Moe- MC 2014Jeremy Lim Hello! My name is Jeremy Lim. Volunteering for TAP has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences in my teaching career. I enjoy presenting topics such as cerebral palsy and bullying with my fellow puppeteers. To me, puppeteering is challenging and fulfilling because it requires a lot of empathy and imagination. You have to step into someone else’s,  puppet’s shoes, and it is totally worth it because the children really learn a lot. There is that magical moment when the children forget about the puppeteers standing behind the puppets, and start talking with, even hugging their new puppet friends!

sandySandy Katz
Retired but still breathing educator, desperately seeking outlet for the hidden performer within. Looking for ways to connect. Found TAP and fell in love with Vanessa, Jason, Lise, Tara, etc. and all the hands and hearts that stand behind them and breathe life into them. Now, proudly, passionately perform with puppet buddies. Providing such valuable learning in such a wonderful way is both fulfillment and a joy.

Sarah B puppeteerSarah Burakowski
As a newly retired teacher who has worked with children of various exceptionalities, TAP is the perfect medium for me to continue educating both children and adults about the importance of tolerance, empathy and understanding. Not only is it rewarding watching the children become totally engaged with the puppets, but being a puppeteer is also fun. Twenty years ago, as a grade two teacher, I watched a performance and I knew it was something I wanted to do when I had some free time. With the support of the other puppeteers, my first year with TAP has been extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

Enosh Cheng enosh 2016
Hi! My name is Enosh. I joined TAP in 2014, and I’ve been a puppeteer ever since. It’s been an amazing journey learning puppetry skills that allow me to interact with and educate children in ways I couldn’t have imagined before. I remember kids lining up after a workshop to shake hands with the puppet on my hand as if I were absent. The wonder in their eyes tells me that puppetry as an art form that still fascinates the imagination of children in the digital age.

Gayle Zack gayle-u7813
HI I’m Gayle Zack. When I was a teacher, I used puppets to connect with my behavioural students. I changed my career but decided that once I retired I would pursue puppetry. I have been a puppeteer with TAP for over six years and I have learned a lot. Once, the black table cloth that covers the table to hide our puppets, slid off of the table exposing everyone lying on their backs! The kids howled and we could not stop smiling even though we looked very silly!

Shuyuan Shun image
Hello, my name is Shuyuan, I have been a volunteer puppeteer for 3 years. It has been a lovely experience for me. As a retiree, my life is full of richness ever, I learned so much through TAP. Each workshop is a challenge for me, yet I love the challenges, the questions, the smiling, the curiosity and fun. I remembered in the first show I worked with the puppet, Jack Cooper in X-men Rule of Hydrocephalus , I was supposed to say “Hey Andrew !” to greet puppet Andrew , instead I said “Hey Jack”, that moment, I laughed to myself: “oo…h, today is an opposite day isn’t it” ? Yes, children laugh so do puppeteers. This year I am looking forward to be as Jason in Lisasaurus Rex of Bullies. Teaching awareness of disabilities through puppetry is definitely a lovely and fulfilling experience!

Yolanda Barnes
Yolanda Puppeteer
I love the shows, the scripts and puppets, and the interaction with the kids. It is amazing how effective the shows are, how quickly and deeply children understand and empathize with the condition presented. I also love the team, the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of the troupe. I spent my working life dealing with computers and having minimal exposure to theatre, education and children with disabilities. Participation in TAP opens new worlds for me to explore.

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