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Maritime Marionettes
The Company
Company History

Maritime Marionettes was founded in 1986 with the goal of producing and touring quality marionette theater. They have produced and performed eleven new shows (ten of these were translated and performed in French), developing a magical style of performing together. Their company has traveled nationally and internationally, acquiring an international reputation for excellence in Marionette artistry.

The company creates its productions from concept to finished product. This includes making and fashioning the marionette figures that feature in the shows to the sets, props and costuming of the productions. Read a selection of Reviews, Evaluations & Recommendations.
Maritime Marionettes - Heather & Darryll Taylor

Maritime Marionettes - Heather & Darryll Taylor

Jack and the Beanstalk
The Nativity Story
The Bremen Town Musicians
The Lonely Leprechaun
Land of the Little People
Molly and the Oak Island Treasure
The Greatest Little Show
Red Riding Hood
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Heather Bishop's Solo Variety Show
Maritime Marionettes - Heather & Darryll Taylor

Maritime Marionettes - Heather & Darryll Taylor

The Puppeteers

Heather Bishop Taylor is well known in Nova Scotia for her work as a solo performer in schools and in a variety of special events. Her interest in puppetry began at age 11 and she has continued to develop her beloved childhood hobby into a career. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in French at Acadia University, she went on to study theatre at Dalhousie and take the Foundation year at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. All of her studies in music, theatre, French and art have been adapted and directed toward her love of marionettes.

Heather Bishop Taylor

Darryll Taylor developed an interest in marionettes after working primarily with mouth and rod puppets. He has intuitive manipulation techniques and has developed his performing skills thoroughly and precisely. Darryll has been continuing a family tradition of storytelling and music. He is the principal writer for the shows, whether retelling a traditional tale or creating original stories.

In Molly and the Oak Island Treasure and Land of the Little People, he has combined local folklore with fantasy in a musical marionette play. Darryll builds the marionette figures and props from basswood, and is instrumental in the mounting of the company productions from concept to bringing the marionette to life on stage.

Darryll Taylor
Career Highlights
  • *ALDERNEY LANDING THEATRE, Now home base for Maritime Marionettes, Dartmouth Waterfront- full season of shows, March 2010 to Feb 2011.


  • *Dubai, International Doll Festival, July 2009

  • *Tour of 8 Community Children's Series in Ontario, Spring 2009

  • *Festival for Young Children, Petits Bonheurs, Montréal, PQ, May 2008

  • *Harvest Home Celebrations, Alexander G. Bell Museum, Baddeck NS, Sept 2008

  • Puppets Up! Festival, Almonte, Ont., August 2007

  • Tour of the Yukon Territory, May/June 2007

  • Maniganses, Festival des marionettes, Jonquière, Que., '98, '96, '94, 2006

  • Petrouchka, Concert with Québec Orchestre Symphonique, April 2005

  • Port Moody Art's Festival, April 2005

  • Puppeteers and Marionettes in 'The Conclave' to be
    released Fall 2005, Canadian and German TV

  • Tour of Newfoundland and Labrador 2005, 2000, 1997, 1992, 1989

  • Tour of Alberta and B.C., Fall 2004

  • Midsummer Marionette Festival, Truro, NS, August 2002, 2003

  • Tour of Saskatchewan & British Columbia, 2003

  • Tour with New Brunswick Arts Council, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002...

  • Festival Mondiale des Marionnettes, Charleville-Mézières, France, 2000 and 1997

  • Hsin Kang International Children's Arts Festival, Taiwan, 2003 and 1998

  • Petrouchka premiere with Lubbock Texas Symphony Orchestra. May 1999

  • 4 week tour of British Columbia Schools, Winter 2000

  • La Semaine Mondiale de la Marionette, Jonquière, Quebec. 1998, 1996, 1994

  • Ottawa - Hull International Children's Festival, 1996, 1993, 1991

  • A Summertime Children's Festival, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1995

  • Kidfest, Bermuda, 1995, 1994

  • Tour of the Yukon Territory, 1991

  • International Children's Festivals: Peterborough Ontario, 1998; London Ontario, 1994; Calgary, 1991; Halifax, 1987; Winnipeg, 1991; Northern Canadian, BC. 1991
Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of questions we are often asked at schools and performances.

Q: How did you get started?
I became interested in marionettes when I was 12 years old after seeing a live marionette show of Pinocchio. I felt inspired and immediately found books on marionettes so I could make them and put on shows with my friends. I was also inspired by the marionettes in the movie The Sound of Music. I put on shows with four friends from my neighbourhood for several years. After that exciting start I continued with a solo show until I met Darryll and we began 'Maritime Marionettes'.

Heather introduced me to this form of puppetry and it was her enthusiasm for it that first caught my interest. Later, I was really amazed with the marionette performance, Peter and the Wolf, presented by David Syrotiak's National Marionette Theatre. I saw how lucky Heather and I were to be able to apprentice in his company and learn about this art form.

Q: When did you start Maritime Marionettes?
We founded Maritime Marionettes in 1986. Before this we apprenticed with David Syrotiaks' National Marionette Theater in Hartford Connecticut, USA., where we learned to build and perform shows.

Q: How do you make the lights work?
The lights are controlled by a lighting board positioned on the stage within easy reach of the puppeteers. During the performance the puppeteers can fade the lights up or down for each scene.

Q: How long does it take to make a marionette?
It takes us three weeks to make one 2 foot high wooden marionette. Complete with costume and strings.

Q: When are you coming back?
We tour each show many places which takes a lot of time. Usually we return with a new show every two years, and some places we have only visited once.

Q: Are you married (to each other)?

Q: Where do you get the puppets?
We make all the puppets in our studio in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Q: Where do the voices come from?
Professional actors do the voices for the puppets. First the voices are digitally recorded in a sound studio. Then we add the sound effects and music to make the sound track. During the performance the soundtrack is played from a laptop, and heard through speakers in front of the stage.

Q: Is it fun being a puppeteer?
Heather and Darryll
Yes it is fun! We love so many things about being puppeteers. We especially like making the marionettes come to life with realistic movements. We also like traveling to interesting places to perform shows. Another fun thing is making the marionettes.

Q: How long does it take to learn?
Learning to work a marionette is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument or learning to play a new sport. The longer you practice the more skilled you become.

Rehearsing a new show can take up to two weeks.

Q: What are the marionettes made of?
We make our marionettes bodies and limbs from basswood. Their heads are made of plastic or fiberglass and their hands are wooden or plastic. Marionettes can be made from many different materials including cloth or doweling.

Q: What are the rocks made of?
The rocks are made of styrofoam which is then covered in cotton cloth soaked in white glue. When this dries it is very hard and light and we can paint it to look real.

Q: How do you make the fire?
The fire is made with a light bulb, called a flicker bulb which can be bought at the hardware store.

Q: How does the cat stay up in the air when the puppeteers aren't holding it?
We hang the control on a long black rod that comes up from the table. This rod is very hard to see from a distance.

Q: What is the Whale made of?
The whale is made of cloth. Inside there are three sections like pillows stuffed with quilt Batting. The outside is covered with a blue fabric called velour and painted. The whale is controlled by two rods and is not a marionette because there are no strings.

Q: How do you make them look so real?
When we move the puppets we think about how a real person would move when they walk, sit down or kneel. We also think about how old or young the character is, and if the character is happy or angry or sad. We practice with a video camera and sometimes with a mirror so we can see what the actions look like.


In This Section
The Puppeteers
Career Highlights
Frequently Asked Questions
Selected Reviews
Performance and Workshop Calendar
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