Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

August 8, 2013

A passion for puppets fuels AHS graduate

Former Andover resident Terrence Burke has revisited his youthful interest in puppets and is turning it into his calling.

Burke, who now lives in Ohio, has been awarded The Emma Louise Warfield Memorial Scholarship to attend the 2013 National Festival of the Puppeteers of America this month at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Burke, who lived in Andover from 1967 to 1988, says his love of puppetry started as a young boy growing up in Ballardvale and attending South School. He says his parents recognized his interest and enrolled him in a puppetry class at the YMCA. He even had the chance to meet Carrol Spinney, the “Sesame Street” puppeteer and Waltham native who still performs Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

The 1982 Andover High School graduate says since revisiting his interest in puppetry in 2001, he has made great strides, building his own puppet characters with his wife, Lara, as well as writing and performing all the songs and skits in his family-friendly puppet show.

He is the solo puppeteer beneath the Wump Mucket Puppets, which performs regularly at libraries, schools and festivals throughout the Cincinnati region. He also regularly donates performances to the local Ronald McDonald House.

Burke says he is looking forward to learning new puppetry skills at the Puppeteers of America festival that he can then incorporate into his own shows.

For more on Burke and Wump Mucket Puppets, visit www.WumpMucketPuppets.com.

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