• Advice

Creative storytelling: 6 lessons from a puppet master

A freelance career filled with homemade puppets and a hint of pragmatism can lead to extraordinary results. Artist Ora Fruchter is proof.

The Brooklyn-based performer uses puppetry and music to create innovative and engaging experiences for people of all ages. Her companies, Yellow Sneaker Puppets & Doppelskope, produce original musical performances, as well as educational programs about the Food Justice movement.

Ora has built a thriving community of co-collaborators, both real and imaginary. This is how she used puppets as her pathway to success:

1. Do what you love. “Puppetry combines a lot of different things that I enjoy - design, directing, performance and improvisation. Freelancing creates space in my life to work with wonderful friends and fellow collaborators. Together, we develop work that we truly love. It’s incredibly rewarding to have that type of freedom.”

2. Collaboration is key. “Essentially, my work happens because of the people in my life. It’s extremely important for me to nurture my community and find new ways to collaborate. Working with others means really taking risks and inviting people to tamper with your ideas.”

3. Embrace constructive criticism. “When I develop something new - a story, song or character - I find feedback can help lead me in the right direction. Always express a willingness to take advice from other people who have more experience than you.”

4. Allow your work to impact others. “The combination of creative storytelling and activism resonates with people. I created 'What's for Lunch Today' in order to educate students about the Food Justice movement. After watching my performance, my hope is they will understand how to make healthier food choices and share that message in their community. The earlier we can involve young people in the movement, the better!”


5. Fight self-doubt. “Freelancing is tough. Channel the energy needed to create great things and be confident in your ability. It took me awhile to say “I’m a puppeteer”, because I was waiting for someone else to say, “Yes, you’ve worked as a puppeteer long enough to call yourself that.” I try to remember that I am in charge of deciding who I am, what the work is that I do, and why I do it. I can’t wait for other people to tell me.”

6. Never stop learning. “No matter what your creative field, there will always be something new to learn. I taught myself puppetry after years of being simply curious. It's never too late.”

Visit to learn about Ora's puppetry and upcoming performances!