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About Our Puppeteers & Staff

Staff Member Description
Nancy Smith
CEO/Artistic Director
Nancy is a graduate of Arizona State University and Florida State University. She is co-founder of the Great Arizona Puppet Theater and writes and directs most of our shows and music.
Ken Bonar
Puppet Designer
Ken came to puppetry as a visual artist. He and Nancy co-founded Puppetpower in Florida in 1976 and Great Arizona Puppets in 1983.
Gwen Bonar
Assistant Artistic Director
Born into puppetry, Gwen has been performing since she was six. She has performed at three puppetry festivals, performed in the national puppet slam, and has toured internationally. As assistant artistic director, Gwen takes pride in overseeing all puppet productions.
Franc Gaxiola
Office Manager
Franc has over 10 years experience in acting and directing with numerous theater companies around the valley. He also has numerous commercial, voiceover and film work to his credits. Most likely, if you call us, you'll be talking with him.
Lisa Haslbauer
Head Puppeteer
After studying for a Master's degree in the Puppet Arts program at the University of Connecticut, Lisa began working at Great Arizona Puppet Theater in 1993. In 2010, Lisa moved to Seattle where she worked as a puppeteer with Thistle Theater and the children's band The Bears Upstairs, as well as helping to found and performing with the Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam. Lisa returned to Phoenix in 2012 and resumed her role as Head Puppeteer. She's happy to be back with GAPT!
Aubrey Watkins
Aubrey Watkins is an Arizona native and has been with GAPT since 2012. She began her training as a puppeteer during a summer theatre camp internship at Theatre Works in Peora, AZ. Aubrey graduated from The University of Arizona with a BA in Theater Arts and is currently attending The University of Hawai'i at Manoa to complete her MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences. She continues to enjoy working at GAPT while she's not in school.
Glen Starrett
Glen has been our volunteer webmaster since June 2001. He has two growing puppet fans (also known as his daughters), ages 16 and 13.

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