Liz Oakley, Puppeteer & Performance-Maker


Liz is a puppeteer, designer, performance-maker and teaching artist from New York City, currently living in Philadelphia. She is interested in using scale play, object animation, and site-specific performance to challenge spatial rules and create moments of surprise. Her original puppetry work has appeared at Coney Island USA, Judson Memorial Church, the Providence Fringe Festival, the International Toy Theater Festival, and The Tank. Her puppetry designs for the stage have appeared at Mixed Magic Theater, the Wilbury Theatre Group, Saratoga Shakespeare Company, Boston Center for the Arts, and Production Workshop. Most recently, she created and performed a puppet for Mortal Meal Services, an ambulatory cemetery performance for one audience member in Philadelphia’s Woodlands Cemetery created by Mieke D. Also this fall, she and Ali Goss created an animated puppet car float for the Wassaic Project’s Haunted Parade. She is one third of the Out of Work Puppeteers, managers of the Misfit Puppet Troupe, who have been seen performing live on Dreamers Welcome TV, the Coney Island Boardwalk, and in Fort Greene Park. Liz has worked with Processional Arts Workshop and the Bread and Puppet Theater on large-scale puppet shows and processions. She has an interest in large-scale, participatory, and community-built artworks that occupy public space. In 2018-2019 Liz studied puppetry in Paris at the Théâtre Aux Mains Nues with the help of a scholarship from Unima-USA.

TAP Work:

“Since the pandemic, I haven’t been able to work as a teaching artist. Being part of TAP was the perfect way to get myself back into the TA groove; reminding myself why I love this work, and learning so much along the way alongside many amazing artists in the cohort. This program taught me so much about the potential of virtual programming and how it’s possible to create community over Zoom. As a puppeteer, with an inherently interdisciplinary practice, it was very valuable for me to work with artists from all backgrounds, and to be able to wear many different artist hats during the various workshops and electives. I loved TAP’s focus on the power of interdisciplinary curriculum and its potential to activate multiple intelligences and reach students where they are. The Classroom & Curriculum Design Fieldwork has been incredibly rewarding, allowing for deep reflection about my own practice as well as invaluable hands-on experience in virtual classrooms with CWP Teaching Artist Mentors.”

Most Memorable TAP Moment:

“The first TAP salon was such a grounding and inspiring evening. I learned so much about my fellow cohort members, and was brought to so many emotional places by the words, music, images, and movements shared. At the end of the evening, so many people who hadn’t already signed up to share work were inspired to spontaneously do so, which was reflective of the supportive, encouraging, and accepting nature of this community.”

Find out more about Liz here: