Intermediate Moving Mouth Puppetry

“The only way the magic works is by hard work. But hard work can be fun.”


Have you always wanted to learn how to puppeteer like they do on “Sesame Street”, “The Muppets”, “Crank Yankers” or “Bear in the Big Blue House”? Well, why not learn from “Bear” himself?! This winter, veteran puppeteer and director, Noel MacNeal, will be teach our basics workshop for novices and puppeteers who’ve wanted to take their “monitor” skills to the next level.

We believe in a holistic approach to puppetry here at Little Shadow Academy. So, you won’t just perform the puppet in this class, you’ll build it with the support of our friends over at Monkey Boys Productions.


  • LESSON ONE – Focus and lip sync
  • LESSON TWO – Movement and stillness
  • LESSON THREE – Emotions & Reactions
  • LESSON FOUR – Skits & Bits (created by participants based on what’s been taught)


  • World class instruction in the comfort of your own home
  • One set of puppet Peepers courtesy of Peepers Puppets
  • One Make your own puppet kit from Monkey Boys complete with video and live instruction
  • Open “camera” time prior to ever session
  • Certificate of Course Completion


  • 2/8 – Early Bird Applications Close – Applications Open
  • 2/15 – Live Q&A on the @LilShadProduc Instagram feed
  • 2/22 – Applications Close
  • 3/1 – Payments Due
  • March 22, 2022 – Puppet Kits Received
  • March 29, 2022 – Live Puppet Building Help Session with Monkey Boy’s own Betsy Falk
  • DATES: April 5, April 12, April 19 & April 26, 2022
  • All four Tuesday night sessions will start at 7:30PM EST with a 30 minute open camera session
  • Instruction with Noel MacNeal will begin at 8PM EST
  • Total of 4 weekly, 1.5 hour Sessions
  • All sessions will take place via Zoom.

Apply to learn puppetry from Noel MacNeal

  • Applicants will be asked to include a 1 minute video demonstrating their performance ability.
  • Applicants will also be asked to share details of any prior training. Prior training is NOT REQUIRED of applicants. We simply want to get to know you a bit better.
FEES (All fees are USD)
    • $750 USD* – EARLY BIRD FEE apply through March15, 2022
    • $875 USD*
    • *Additional shipping fees will apply for international students. NYS participants will be charged sales tax. 
    • All applicants will be invoiced upon acceptance.
    • A limited number of Scholarships are available. Applications for scholarships are included in the application.

About Your Instructor

Noel MacNeal launched his career performing on PBS’s award-winning Sesame Street, where he honed his craft with puppetry legends Jim Henson and Frank Oz. He’s been a performer on Sesame Street for over thirty years and has trained puppeteers in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Jordan, Palestine, India, and, Pakistan, for the Sesame Workshop international co-productions of Sesame Street. Noel has also performed with Disney’s The Muppets as Sweetums.

For over a decade, Noel was the spirit and voice of Bear, the gentle and lovable star of the Emmy Award-winning series Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House and the Disney Channel morning series, Breakfast With Bear. In 2003, Noel received a Daytime Emmy Nomination as “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.”

His repertoire of characters also includes Kako on the Nick Jr. series Oobi and Blue on Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Room. He’s also played Magellan on the award-winning series Eureeka’s Castle on Nick Jr. He played Madame Chairbird in the film Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, Rabbit for Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning series The Book of Pooh, Leon on PBS’s The Puzzle Place, andKnock-Knock on The Great Space Coaster. In addition, Noel was the principal puppeteer of Raphael for the motion picture, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and he’s performed with: Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Whoopie Goldberg, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Emma Thompson, Wayne Brady, Dave Chappelle, Donny and Marie Osmond, Gilbert Godfrey, Tom Bergeron, Regis Philben & Kelly Rippa, Al Roker & the TODAY SHOW cast, Chance the Rapper, and Julie Andrews, to name a few. Noel is now the resident puppeteer for the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Noel is also a television writer.  His scripts have been featured onPBS Kids Sprout’s The Goodnight Show, Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House, PBS’s The Puzzle Place The Magic Schoolbus and Cyberchase, andNickelodeon’s Eureeka’s Castle and Gullah Gullah Island. He is also a script and television directorial adviser and consultant for the international versions of Sesame Street, as well having directed episodes of Bear in the Big Blue House and Sprout’s The Good Night Show. 

And now he’s added the credit of author with his puppet-making book “Ten Minute Puppets with Noel MacNeal,” from Workman Publishing and his follow-up book, “BOX.” He’s done several puppet-making workshops at various bookstores, children’s museums, festivals, and schools in connection with his book. In February of 2014, Noel taught a master class in television puppetry at ERTH, the theatrical puppet and special effects workshop in Sydney, Australia, and has co-taught the popular “Beyond the Sock” master class in television puppetry at the University of North Texas, in Denton, TX. He has also created (by writing, directing, producing, and co-song writing in) three original musical productions as part of the NYC’s Bronx Zoo’s annual BOO AT THE ZOO Halloween celebration. Noel’s latest endeavor is to create THE SHOW ME SHOW, the first online/downloadable series for kids of autism & special needs. Noel also has his podcast “Noel’s Booknook” available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more.

Noel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, novelist (of the “Maggie Hope Mysteries” from Random House) Susan Elia MacNeal, and fifteen-year-old son, Matt (a budding performer).


TWITTER: @NoelMacNeal
INSTAGRAM: @nmacneal
TIKTOK: @noelmacneal
CAMEO: @noelm 



Desperate to take this workshop but need financial support? While we won’t be able to help everyone, we may be able to help a few participants. Ask for a helping hand here.

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“Even as a kid, I felt isolated. Isolation makes you sensitive. As a kid, I felt I was the only person who was like that. But there’s a good side to isolation. It makes you sensitive, and sensitivity is part of the creative process.”

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