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Maïté Agopian

Maite Agopian

I am a puppeteer who builds and creates my own puppets and stories, using mainly shadow theater, carved wooden puppets and mix media. Living in the boreal forest, in Interior Alaska, gives me a particular inspiration to use light, shadow, wood and natural material to express myself. Environmental and social themes like change, transformation or synergies are regularly visible in my work. I work alone and in collaboration (musicians, poets, scientists, educators), and love I exploring different kinds of puppetry and media with each project.

I carved my first wooden marionette in Prague in 2017, and I got entirely hooked. Since then, I attended multiple puppetry classes, workshops and conferences in the US and Europe to learn different traditions and styles of constructions and performances from Master puppeteers. I am able to perform locally, regionally, and internationally,  for a variety of audiences (children and adults). My goal is to continue enhancing this art form by developing quality work for a variety of audiences. As a teaching artist, I am also able to share my passion with people of all ages in a wide variety of settings (schools, festivals, conferences).  

After over 15 years of experience as an educator and outreach specialist in cultural and scientific settings, I’m using the power of puppetry and visual storytelling to inspire new dreams and possibilities, create more synergies between people, and enhance learning environments.

CHAK - Puppetry is the link between Switzerland where I grew up and Alaska, which has been my home since 2005, and where I became a mother of two. It includes all the places I immersed myself for longer period of time along the way (between Europe, Asia, and Far-East Russia); CHAK is the combination of all these very different frameworks that helped build my identity and inform my path as an artist. 


Puppetry is intrinsically diverse, open to the world and to others, bridging cultures, languages and traditions as well as generations, and I am looking forward to sharing my passion for the arts of puppetry with you.

CHAK - Puppetry is here to help bring more puppetry into my community and beyond. 

wooden marionnette
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  • Connie Booshever Fellowship, The Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and Alaska State Council of the Arts, 2023

  • UNIMA-USA scholarship, 2023

  • Keepers of the Earth/Cultural Survival grant, as part of the collaborative "Elvel Movie Group", for a puppet film project, 2022

  • Individual Artist Award, Rasmuson Foundation, 2021

  • Alumni Scholarship, O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, 2021

  • Adaptation and Innovation Grant, Alaska Council of the Arts, 2021

  • "In a Time of Change, the Boreal Forest", ITOC project, an Art, Humanities and Science Collaboration, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2020-2022

  • Ralph E. Cheese Minority Scholarship, O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, 2020

  • Puppetry and Therapy Certificate, with Andrea Markovitz, International School of Puppet therapy Barcelona, (online, 2024)

  • AMP program, with Bernd Ogrodnik, (online, 2023)

  • Academy of Wooden Puppet, with Bernd Ogrodnik, (online, 2020 - 22), see my Interview with Bernd Ogrodnik

  • Puppetry and Technology, with Tom Lee (online, over 6 weeks, 2022)

  • Making Manual Cinema, with Manual Cinema, O'Neill National Puppetry Conference (online, June 6-11, 2021)

  • A crush course in Mime, with Les Bubb, London International Mime Festival (online, January 11-15, 2021)

  • The Language of Material and Objects: Movement and Experimental Puppetry with Alice Gottschalk, O'Neill National Puppetry Conference (online, June 8-12, 2020)

  • Rod Puppet Building Workshop, with Ines Zeller Bass, Sandglass Theater (online, July13-18, 2020)

  • Large Puppet Handling workshop, under the direction of Michel Villée, using Natasha Belova puppets (Brussels, Belgium, July 1-5, 2019) 

  • Shadow theater and light exploration, under the direction of Norbert Götz (Bamberg, Germany, July 29 - August 8, 2019) 

  • Residency in puppet theater "la Turlutaine" with Catherine De Torrente (La Chaux-de-Fond, Switzerland, August 12-16, 2019)

  • Advanced Hand Puppet Theater Class, with Fergus Walsh (online, DRAM 5610, Spring semester 2019, UCONN) 

  • Advanced Shadow Theater Class, with Penny Benson (online, DRAM 5613, Fall semester, 2018, UCONN)

  • String Marionette carving workshop, with Miroslav Trejtnar (Prague, July 1-26, 2017)

  • Beginning Native Art Studio, (Art F268, Fall Semester, 2015, UAF)

  • Beginning Ceramic, (ART F201, Spring Semester, 2010, UAF)

  • Master in Social Science, Geography and Cultural Anthropology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2004)

  • 2018: Puppet Tent Camp, 6 -12 years old, one week

  • 2019: Puppet Camp, University of Fairbanks Alaska Summer Session Camps, 9 -11 years old, one week

  • 2019: Shadow residency, Pearl Creek Elementary (500 students, prek-6), 2 weeks ; Salcha Elementary (70 students, prek-6), 1 week

  • 2020: Shadow residency, Nordale Elementary (250 students, prek-3), 2 weeks

  • 2022: Puppet Camps at the Botanical Garden, UAF Summer Session, 6 - 8 and 9-11 years old, two weeks

  • 2023: Shadow residency, Watershed School (250 students, K-8), two weeks

  • 2023: Puppet Camp in the woods, 7 -10 years old, one week


  • Puppet Designer and Construction Lead (with Lathrop High school students) for "Shrek the Musical", Lathrop, 2024

  • Puppet Designer and Construction for "Evil Dead, the Musical" (singing moose and sofa), Interior Independent Theater, Fairbanks, 2019 (link)

  • Puppet Construction for "Avenue Q" (2 Lucy, 2 Princeton, bits and parts of others), Interior Independent Theater, UAF Theater, Fairbanks, 2018 (link)

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