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Puppet Showplace Inc.

 32 Station Street
 Brookline, MA 02445
[P] (617) 731-6400 x 102
[F] --
Cat Meilus
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2546402

LAST UPDATED: 12/12/2017
Organization DBA Puppet Showplace Theater
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

Puppet Showplace Theater is dedicated to presenting outstanding professional puppetry to diverse audiences through performances, workshops, and community outreach activities.

Mission Statement

Puppet Showplace Theater is dedicated to presenting outstanding professional puppetry to diverse audiences through performances, workshops, and community outreach activities.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $490,350.00
Projected Expense $494,768.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Mary Churchill Memiral Fund/Outreach to Underserved Schools
  • Puppet Incubator / New Works Development / Artist in Residence
  • Puppetry Arts Education Programs
  • Youth/Family Puppet Performances

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Puppet Showplace Theater is dedicated to presenting outstanding professional puppetry to diverse audiences through performances, workshops, and community outreach activities.

Background Statement

Puppet Showplace, Incorporated was founded in 1974 by visionary educator and puppeteer Mary Churchill. Mary was known for her witty adaptations of children’s stories that featured strong female protagonists.  She was a regular performer, tireless administrator, and generous benefactor of the theater until her death in 1997.

From the day it opened, Puppet Showplace became a home for touring puppet companies from across New England and beyond.  Many performers became regulars, appearing on stage each season and contributing to the financial support and governance of the theater.  Puppet Showplace has also been the home of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry since its inception.  

In 1977, puppeteer Paul Vincent Davis became Artist in Residence.  While at Puppet Showplace, Paul developed over a dozen productions for youth and family audiences, receiving 5 UNIMA citations for his work, the highest recognition in American puppetry.  Paul remained active as a performer until his retirement in 2007.  Davis continues to serve on the Showplace Board of Trustees. 

In 2009, Brad Shur became Puppet Showplace Theater’s Resident Artist.  Under Paul’s mentorship, Brad trained in the art of glove puppetry and learned to perform three of the master puppeteer’s classic shows.  He also began developing original productions that incorporate numerous styles of puppetry, from elaborate shadow puppets to full-body puppets.

Puppet Showplace now serves a diverse audience of over 24,000 patrons annually.  In 2013/14 audiences came from 358 Massachusetts towns, 32 States, and five foreign countries.  Although over 90% of the audience comes from the Boston Metro region, close to 7% of our patrons travel more than 50 miles to attend our performances.

Our programming has grown over the years to include camps and classes, school residencies, and presenting collaborations with major cultural institutions. Puppet Showplace is also credited with creating the country’s first adult “puppet slam,” a cabaret-style of short form puppet theater now popular across North America. 

Puppet Showplace has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years, from an Eliot Norton Award Citation for “Keeping the ancient art of puppetry alive for audiences of all ages,” to the Boston Parents Paper’s listings as “Favorite Family Entertainer” and “Best Birthday Party Place”.  Today, Puppet Showplace Theater’s success is reflected in our audience, which includes the children of children who attended shows when the theater was first founded. 

Impact Statement

1) Expanded programming:

In the last year, Puppet Showplace has expanded our camp offerings to include 5 summer camps and 2 vacation week camps for ages ranging from 5-11.

2) Served over 24,000 audience members of all ages, backgrounds, and socio-economic status, with high quality puppetry performances with an average of 6 shows per week, 48 weeks per year. Subsidized hundreds of free and deeply reduced price tickets for low-income groups through our Mary Churchill Memorial Fund for under-served children. Kept our ticket prices affordable

3) Found financial stability that has allowed for bringing staff structure up to a more sustainable level, and increasing staff pay to adequately reflect a living wage for arts professionals for both full time and hourly staff.

4) .Developed the immersive performance experience of The Midnight Zoo, a 360-degree immersive production that took audiences on a journey to protect mythical and monstrous creatures. This production was attended by over 4,000 people, and involved the talents of 27 performers, 15 designers, and countless other friends and supporters who helped our wildest dreams come true

In the next year our goals include:

1) Form community/artist council to collaborate on programming choices reflecting diversity and inclusion topics relevant to community and allocate time for staff to attend diversity & inclusion workshops. Puppet Showplace Theater wants to move from celebration of diversity to an active dialogue in order to be more relevant to diverse audiences

2) Define marketing segments to help drive overall marketing plan and audience survey/data collection with the goal of better understanding our ROI by audience segment and tailor marketing more effectively.

3) Invest time and funds in the theater’s new Resident Artist who begins September of 2017, allowing for her refining of past productions and the development of new works for families and adults.

Needs Statement

1) To fully fund the Mary Churchill Memorial Fund for low-income and underserved children, which provides free and deeply reduced price tickets to groups of children who would otherwise not be able to participate in any of our programming. $10-20,000/year.

2) To develop an after school enrichment program for children ages 8-13 that supports STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) learning goals through hands-on creative exploration, including curriculum development and research. $13,000

3) To carry out deferred maintenance and improvements on our historic venue, including new seating, updated workspaces and computers, and improving the theatrical lighting and sound systems. $100,000

4) To expand the Board of Trustees, and have all major expertise areas covered. Currently need financial and fundraising expertise. Recruit new board members from under-represented communities and races

CEO Statement

As New England’s Puppet Theater, we celebrate joy and creativity as essential, valuable elements of human life.

We value children and are inspired by their innate honesty and imagination. We believe in the time-honored technical principles that make good puppetry and respect the life-long effort needed to achieve excellence in the field.
We share our passion for puppetry as a vital, living art form and strive to engage audiences of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.  We support the use of puppetry for entertainment, in education, and as a means of creative self-expression.
We welcome the participation of artists at all levels, from professionals to amateurs and emerging artists. We constantly strive to make our work accessible to all.

Board Chair Statement

During 40 years of operation, Puppet Showplace Theater has become a treasured cultural institution and community destination for the performing arts. With a long history of being run by the founder, the biggest challenge the theater has tackled is raising the professionalism of the administration and building the board. 

Puppet Showplace is run by an experienced staff and volunteer board of trustees.  We have spent the last decade streamlining operational systems and procedures so that we can expand the services we offer to the community. 
We are supported by contributions from individual donors, local businesses, and foundation and government grants.  As the puppeteers who were part of the early history of the Showplace retire, we are working to educate and train the next generation of puppetry artists. 
Many of the veteran performers have named Puppet Showplace in their wills and we are interested in developing a deferred giving program. 

Geographic Area Served

Puppet Showplace serves families and adults from the Greater Boston area and New England; a majority of audiences are from Massachusetts. We also serve tourists from up to about 15 US states and 10 foreign countries per year.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Performing Arts Centers
  2. Education - Educational Services
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Theater

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Mary Churchill Memiral Fund/Outreach to Underserved Schools

The Mary Churchill Memorial Fund provides subsidized tickets and free or reduced price puppetry programming to under-served schools and children across the greater Boston area. 
Budget  $10,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Puppet Shows
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Children Only (5 - 14 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success  The theater receives thank-you letters from the students and schools served by the fund, which are shared with local and state politicians.
Program Long-Term Success  School children across the greater Boston area will be able to overcome financial barriers and to access formative experiences with live puppetry arts. Schools will be able to rely on this funding and will forge robust ties with Puppet Showplace Theatre that result in additional program innovation for this target population.
Program Success Monitored By  A set budget amount is allocated each fiscal year and success is judged by whether the fund has a zero balance at the end of the fiscal year.
Examples of Program Success  The Mary Churchill Memorial Fund allowed Puppet showplace to welcome students from preschools and elementary schools in Dorchester and Roxbury. 

Puppet Incubator / New Works Development / Artist in Residence

Puppet Showplace Theater collaborates with artists to foster the development of new puppetry works. The theater achieves this by maintaining a resident artist position, organizing "Incubator" community events for artists with works-in-progress, acting as a fiscal sponsor or project adviser for emerging puppet companies, and providing artists with opportunities to showcase their work to audiences of all ages.
Budget  $10,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Artists-in-Residence
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success  At the end of each year, Puppet Showplace will have presented 2 world premieres as part of its programming season and will expand its roster of touring shows by adding new works. Artists, empowered and inspired by the Incubator community, will submit pitches for new projects accompanied by production plans that articulate steps from conception through implementation. The Showplace will offer resources such as rehearsal space, grant stipends, and invited-showing venues to artists with works-in-development. Audience members will attend preview showings of new works-in-development and will celebrate artists who successfully premier their shows. The resident artist will have the structure and support needed to tackle challenging creative projects, as well as the time needed to reflect and grow as a professional.
Program Long-Term Success  New works are essential to the vitality of the puppetry arts. Our long term success will see Boston as a hub for creative innovation in puppetry performance. Audiences of all ages will be touched by experiencing new works that take advantage of modern technologies and materials, speak to current issues, and resonate with contemporary aesthetics. Artists will have the resources necessary to create their best work, and the confidence and professional ambition to tour their performances to communities across the region.
Program Success Monitored By  Puppet Showplace tracks the productivity of the resident artist by monitoring his schedule and bookings through the year. The Incubator program tracks the number of interested and involved artists who have successfully prepared production plans or scripts and reports are made to the board on qualitative milestones. When new works debut, audience members are surveyed to assess the impact of the performance.
Examples of Program Success  Puppet Showplace seasons have included two world premier performances developed by local artists since 2012.  A new interactive performance program for pre-school children has begun performances and is selling out every week. All of the artists creating these works are based in Boston and are in their 20s and 30s. The Showplace has partnered with these artists to attract support from the Children's Theatre Foundation of America's Harris Grant Program and from the Henson Foundation. The artists met regularly and received feedback from peer professionals about their ideas. The theater offered them rehearsal space and opportunities to perform excerpts from their works in front of audiences of all ages. Audience feedback was uniformly positive and constructive, and requests to present these productions on tour have begun to be booked.

Puppetry Arts Education Programs

Puppet Showplace Theater classes and workshops to audiences of all ages pre-k through adult. Educational programming is developed by resident and affiliated teaching artists and is offered both on-site in Brookline and off-site at host institutions and partner venues. Program content ranges from craft activities, to camps, to studio workshops for emerging professionals. Programming is offered in a variety of formats including single session workshops, weekly afternoon or evening classes, school residencies, or day camps. Content is customized to suit the needs and interests of target ages and populations.
Budget  $20,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Puppet Shows
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success  Students will have the vocabulary needed for literacy about the puppetry arts. They will be able to recognize key elements of puppet performance (breath, focus, etc.) and distinguish between different styles of puppetry. Students will apply their skills to specific creative endeavors, and will continue to make and share work outside of class.
Program Long-Term Success  The greater Boston area and the New England region will have a high level of literacy about puppetry arts and appreciate the work and contributions of master puppeteers. Puppetry craft, building, and performance traditions will remain vital in the New England region, with skills passed from masters to apprentices at all ages and skill levels. Puppetry performance and craft techniques enable creative expression in contexts ranging from parades to parlor plays.
Program Success Monitored By  All students (or parents) in classes, camps, and on-site workshops receive a survey. Respondents rate content and instructor quality, share what they thought was most successful, and offer suggestions about ways to improve and directions for future programming. The Puppet Showplace invites adult students to showcase their final projects at puppet slams, and both camps and after school programs end with a final showing. Extended residencies are monitored by teachers and school administrators who report to the artistic director about their students' learning and experiences. 
Examples of Program Success 
Demand for Puppet Showplace's educational programming increases each year. The teaching artist roster has grown each season, and the curriculum has become more varied to include diverse styles of puppetry. Our educational programs have also continued to reach diverse populations, including students with special needs. Adult students have returned as performers, displaying their new work on our stage and beyond. We have also seen them apply their puppetry skills on theatrical productions in greater Boston (the Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage company is a Puppet Showplace graduate). Survey responses are uniformly enthusiastic. In the first year of summer camp, a parent wrote the following assessment:
"Our son was perfectly thrilled with the experience. The mastery and charisma of the instructor, the warm and gifted assistants, the healthy doses of recreation and sport and the ambience of a cherished theatre, all combined to be an experience he treasures."

Youth/Family Puppet Performances

The Puppet Showplace presents the magic of puppetry arts by presenting unique and captivating puppet shows created and performed by professional artists drawn from across the country. The theatre is intimate, seating only 95, and is designed specifically for puppetry performance. A different show is presented nearly every week during the appx. 50 week programming season. Families with young children, school and camp groups, and other community organizations attend shows throughout the year. Performances feature many styles of puppetry from marionettes to shadow puppets. Many children are experiencing live theatre for the first time; many adults are astonished by master puppeteers' expert skill and craftsmanship; audiences of all ages are touched by the creativity of the puppetry arts experience.
Budget  $428,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Puppet Shows
Population Served Families Infants to Preschool (under age 5) K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Participate in the cultural life of the region.  Share creative experiences with friends and family.  Learn proper audience comportment for live performances.  Enjoy the show, discuss, respond creatively
Program Long-Term Success  Young children will have an imaginative creative cultural experience that they treasure. Families cultural orgs and others will have reliable access to a creative, professional, high-quality cultural destination in their community.
Program Success Monitored By  Nightly report, AD observation, reviews/media, surveys, ticket sales and memberships
Examples of Program Success 
The Puppet Showplace is expanding its reach to a broader audience with expanded programs like Puppet Playtime for toddlers and Summer Camp in partnership with Brookline Recreation for 7 - 10 year-olds.  Both programs sell out on a regular basis.   

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The biggest challenge is, of course, money.  The theater is expanding its board and sponsorship opportunities for businesses to participate more fully in the programming.


CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Cat Meilus
CEO Term Start July 2015
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Since 2012, Cat Meilus has overseen Puppet Showplace’s behind-the-scenes operations and managed audience services for the theater’s 24,000+ patron, members and donors. Cat has served as Managing Director at Puppet Showplace since 2015 and has worked with Artistic Director, Roxanna Myhrum, to increase grant funding, find financial stability, and streamline staffing structures. Formally trained in Stage Management, Meilus started her professional theater career at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston as part of the stage management team working on a variety of award-winning productions. As Production Manager of Bad Habit Productions, Meilus was an active participant in 6 seasons' worth of productions, including Bad Habit's new series of theater for families. She is an active stage manager in the Boston area and has worked in fringe, professional, and educational theater environments. Meilus is a graduate of Salem State University (B.F.A. in Stage Management).

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Roxanna Myhrum Artistic Director

Roxie has been Puppet Showplace Theater's Artistic Director since 2010. Trained in puppetry as a teenager, she spent a decade working with Flock Theatre as a resident company member at the Eugene O'Neill National Puppetry Conference. She worked in television/film production, strategic communications, and academic research before finally focusing her career on the live performing arts.

Roxie has served as a puppetry instructor and coach at the Huntington Theatre Company, Company One, the Lyric Stage Company of Boston (IRNE award, Avenue Q), Wheelock Family Theater, New Repertory Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Boston College, Suffolk University, and Worcester State University.  She has guest-taught puppetry classes at Harvard, Brown, Babson, and BC and has led all-ages workshops promoting puppetry literacy throughout the greater Boston area. She is a member of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry and UNIMA-USA, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Puppeteers of America. Roxie is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B. in Social Studies)


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 3
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. Alison Plant
Board Chair Company Affiliation Berklee College of Music
Board Chair Term Mar 2015 - Mar 2018
Board Co-Chair Edward Zlotkowski
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Bentley University
Board Co-Chair Term Sept 2016 - Sept 2019

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Nora Cheng Sanders Google, Inc Voting
Paul Vincent Davis Retired Voting
Maria Finison Community Volunteer Voting
Noreen Martin-Herzog Attorney at Law Voting
Ayanna McPhail Practicing Lawyer Voting
Margueritte Murphy Hobart & William Smith Colleges Voting
Alison Plante Berklee University Voting
Alice Schaefer Retired Voting
Charles Wong Google, Inc Voting
Edward Zlotkowski Bentley University Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 90%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Community Outreach / Community Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Puppet Showplace has seen considerable growth in our board over the last few years, including the addition of non-board volunteers who serve on specific sub-committees based on their skills and interests. The goal of this volunteer service is to ultimately join the board- this has served as well as a recruitment tactic and we continue to expand using this method.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $490,350.00
Projected Expense $494,768.00
Form 990s

2017 990

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

Audit Documents

2017 Review

2016 Review

2015 Review

2014 Review

2013 Review

2012 Review

2011 Review

2010 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $541,919 $436,523 $434,395
Total Expenses $513,393 $413,294 $444,965

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $3,360
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $3,360
Individual Contributions $69,914 $70,449 $77,426
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $409,837 $319,142 $320,904
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues $26,090 $25,882 $22,493
Special Events $15,759 $12,915 $4,287
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $20,319 $8,135 $5,925

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $444,409 $301,595 $364,487
Administration Expense $44,383 $99,969 $32,760
Fundraising Expense $24,601 $11,730 $47,718
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.06 1.06 0.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses 87% 73% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 29% 14% 56%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $105,649 $79,618 $63,340
Current Assets $98,981 $68,870 $48,512
Long-Term Liabilities $33,923 $35,572 $42,523
Current Liabilities $2,779 $3,243 $5,526
Total Net Assets $68,947 $40,803 $15,291

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose We are in the process of renovating our heating and cooling systems and have a matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Cultural Facilities Fund to carry out the project.
Campaign Goal $40,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates Sept 2017 - Sept 2018
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $20,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 35.62 21.24 8.78

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 32% 45% 67%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Over the last 2 years, Puppet Showplace has been going through a series of transitions and explorations that have vastly benefited our organization. These transitions included a large staffing restructure from one full time Executive Director leading the organization to a dual leadership team of a full time Artistic Director and full time Managing Director. This was in response to over 5 years of heavy staff turnover, particularly in the position of Executive Director. Executive turn overs have resulted in inconsistent accounting and financial tracking practices at the theater. Overall, this transition in staff structure has brought the theater great success; we have seen improvements in productivity, efficiency, fundraising capacity, and staff retention. We have also seen, compared to 5 years ago, a much healthier bottom line and, for the first time in the theater’s recent past, we are in a strong enough financial position to invest in infrastructure improvements like new computers and capital campaigns.

Unfortunately, our reporting is still skewed when compared across fiscal years; this is evident in the expense allocations as listed in this profile. The Directors and Board of Trustees at Puppet Showplace have prioritized strengthening these financial procedures. The theater is currently undergoing an extensive audit with our CPA and our senior staff is completing further education in accounting best practices and methods to ensure all financial reports moving forward are consistent and a true representation of our organization. We are excited to invest our time and energy in bettering our reporting systems and continuing to strengthen the theater in as many was as possible.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Puppet Showplace uses the art of puppetry to provide the highest quality entertainment and educational experiences to audiences of all ages.  It is our responsibility to help mold the performing arts audiences of the future, while challenging older audiences to look at the world through fresh eyes.

The theater has spent the Great Recession building its infrastructure and refining its programming.  With the improving economy we are now poised to capitalize on this foundation and expand the reach of the theater. 

Our goal is to make audiences aware of the amazing breadth of expression possible through puppetry and improve the quality of New England's professional puppeteers.  Our classes, workshops and play development programs are all designed to accomplish this. 
The measure of our success will be in the changing attitudes of audiences, who will come to see puppetry as an integral part of the performing arts landscape in the region.   

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We are currently expanding the board of trustees and developing new sources of income.  With additional resources we can further expand our educational offerings and provide the human resources necessary to staff the expanding programs.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Puppet Showplace is run by an experienced staff of three early-career professionals with degrees in Arts Administration and Theater Education.  A roster of 50 professional touring puppet companies perform on a regular basis and provide workshops to an audience of 24,000 patrons annually. 

The core audience of Greater Boston residents is made up of parents who remember coming to Puppet Showplace as children and are eager to pass on the sense of wonder they experienced at the theater to their children. 

The volunteer board of trustees reflects the broad demographics of the region and a wide range of ages and professions.  They are a hard working transitional board eager to develop a more professional board that can partner with staff to raise the profile and financial stability of the organization. 

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

The theater's progress is measured by the expanding programs, the elimination of debt, and the improvement of the audience experience.  In the past year the debt has been reduced by 50%.  A new treasurer has instituted monthly reporting that is helping staff reach realistic goals on a monthly basis.

The theater's traditional reliance on ticket sales alone is being replace with substantial fundraising efforts and outreach to local businesses for sponsorships.  By fiscal 2016 the theater is hoping to have half of the programming underwritten by sponsors.  At the same time the educational programming will be expanded to provide additional income to the operations.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Puppet Showplace Theater has been in existence for 40 years, but as an organization it is entering adolescence.  It is experiencing the growing pains of any organization at this stage of development, but the staff and board all realize the changes that need to be made to accomplish the growth that they strive for.