Puppeteer Terrence Burke
Hello, I’m puppeteer Terrence Burke.
I am the voice and hands behind the Wump Mucket Puppets. Not only do I perform every character in the show, but I also write every story, song, and silly bit of puppet fun.
This is how I found my calling in life, to become a professional puppeteer.
Bitten By The Puppet Bug
My parents encouraged this interest by enrolling me in a puppetry class. In 1970 my father brought me to a puppetry convention in Boston. I loved it and met Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney and Oscar the Grouch. Oscar was orange back then. It’s a cherished memory.
The Puppeteer Emerges
Puppetry was tucked away from my creative life for several decades. During this time I explored other artistic interests that include acting on stage, hosting a radio program, publishing a music magazine, and recording electronic sound sculptures.
In 2001, my dad passed away very suddenly. It was a very difficult time in my life. While trying to overcome my depression, the doctor that was helping me asked what made him happy. Puppetry was my answer! A short documentary film was made about this, CLICK HERE TO WATCH
Listening to my heart, I joined the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild and Puppeteers of America to meet other puppeteers. I also began reading books about building puppets and watching videos to learn as much as I could. A few years later, our children were born. When my daughter was in preschool, she proudly shared that her daddy was a puppeteer. This lead to an invitation to perform for the students. My ten-minute puppet show impressed the teacher. She suggested that I should follow my passion.
I feel that puppetry allows me a very open creative outlet. It gives me the freedom to write, build, compose, and perform my original stories and songs. My early shows were performed at farmers markets, a coffee house, and several non-profit organizations. Eventually, this hobby became a part-time job, that grew to my professional touring puppet company, Wump Mucket Puppets LLC.
Today I perform my touring puppet shows to wonderful audiences around the country. I have also made numerous radio and television appearances, including a segment on the PBS television program The Art Show.
The Teaching Artist Arises
My “second career” as a teaching artist began in 2018. I love to share my knowledge with children, leading the puppetry workshop at the non-profit language arts center WordPlay Cincinnati. I love it!
More biographical info
I am a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in the town of Andover. I now live with my wife Lara and our daughter and son in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to puppetry, my interests include reading science fiction and fantasy novels, eating homemade popcorn, listening to jazz and New Wave rock music, watching classic cartoons and Doctor Who on TV, and taking morning walks. I am definitely a “cat person”.