Nick Barone Puppets

Questions about Nick Barone Puppets


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What do you bring to the puppet show and how much space do you need?
Nick Barone Puppets brings a full theater experience to your event, complete with lighting and a sound system. The puppet stage requires a performance space of 8 feet wide by 6 feet deep, with at least a 7 foot ceiling. The stage should be set up on a level surface or on an elevated platform with one standard power outlet near by. The audience should be seated at least 3 to 4 feet in front of the stage to comfortably view the performance.

The diagram below shows measurements of the preferred stage and support equipment arrangement. The placement of most equipment can be adjusted to fit into almost any space from a living room or den to a gymnasium.
stage measurements

Setting up the puppet theater

Don't worry, I'll set up the theater, I just want to show you how the theater can fit into a room.

Setting up the puppet theater along the long wall reduces the seating area significantly.
Setting up the puppet theater along the short wall is usually the best way to go.
Setting up the puppet theater in a corner is a good idea for a very crowded room.

Indoor Lighting

My puppet theater has its own lighting to help focus the audience's attention on the performance. Whenever possible, dim or turn off the room lights during the performance. The room does not need to be completely dark, in fact, total darkness can scare some children.

Make sure there are no windows behind the puppet theater. Light coming from behind the theater will go into the audience’s eyes, making it difficult to view the performance. Close the curtains or set up the theater along a different wall.

Theater Locations

I prefer to set up the puppet show away from the rest of the event whenever possible. The living room isn't always the best spot for the puppet theater, especially if you have a small house full of party guests. The theater takes up a good amount of space.

The yard, front or back, and a patio are all great puppet show locations. Many people forget about the largest space in the house, the garage. I've performed many shows in the garage. Just cover the oil stain with a tarp and viola! Instant theater!

Here you will find a list of all the parks and community centers where I have performed.

Viewing the show

Sitting the audience on the floor is the best way to squeeze the maximum amount of people into a space and still allow the best possible view of the performance, especially when you have a mix of adults and children.

What do your puppet shows cost?

Pricing varies, depending on how much travel time is involved and how many shows you want. Discounts are available for multiple bookings. Please contact me to discuss pricing.

Do you perform at birthday parties?

Yes! Many of my performances take place at private birthday parties, however I also perform at preschools, elementary schools, corporate parties, libraries and public events.

Attention Span

From my many years of experience and from conversations with other entertainers, I have learned that a good length for a puppet show is 20 to 30 minutes. I put as much entertainment into that time-frame as I can. With a smoothly flowing and engaging story and an average of 20 puppets per show, my shows can hold onto even the shortest of attention spans.

Age Appropriateness

My shows are written to entertain the entire family and adults are always telling me how much they've enjoyed my shows. However, my shows are aimed at the 2-7 year old audience. I never put any content into my shows that I would not want my young niece or nephew to see.

Are your shows scary?

The shows are gentle and all of the puppets friendly-looking. Children are rarely frightened by my shows. Some children can be uncertain about what a puppet is and whether it's alive or not. Many parents show their child pictures of the puppets on this web site to gauge their reaction. This also helps the child become familiar with the show. Parents have also told me that their child was very excited to be part of the process of selecting the entertainment for their party.

Can you perform outdoors? Yes, weather permitting. Both rain and wind make for unsuitable performance conditions. Choose a shady, level location for outside performances. If the performance is to take place on a lawn, please make sure the performance area is dry. When possible, it is best to position the puppet stage facing into the sun. This will light the stage naturally and keep the sun out of the audience's eyes. It is a good idea to have an alternate performance location in case of unexpected weather changes.

Here you will find a list of all the parks and community centers where I have performed.
Can you perform in a park?

You must check with the park department before booking the show. Ask if they allow "amplified sound". Amplified Sound is the park department's definition of any sound not naturally occurring in the park. There is too much ambient noise in a park and the audience will not be able to hear the show without the use of amplified sound. Park Rangers will walk right into a party and stop the show if they do not allow amplified sound in the park.

Here you will find a list of all the parks and community centers where I have performed.

Do you need a power outlet?

There is plenty of extension cable packed along with the show. However, if there are no available power outlets, a portable power supply is also available. Please mention this when booking the show so there is sufficient time to charge up the portable battery.

What else do you need when you arrive?

The stage and a number of large boxes need to be brought in to the performance area. Please provide a clear path to load the equipment in and out of the performance area. Please make sure parking is available close to the performance area.

It's a good idea to have the check for the show made out in advance, since you will most likely be very busy during your event.

For schools and libraries, you might want to make books on puppetry and puppet making available to the children after the show. You might also want to have books on bugs and ecology available after a performance of Tales from the Enchanted Forest, versions of "Puss in Boots" and other fairy tales available after Puss in Boots and books about cowboys, the wild west and dinosaurs to accompany a performance of T-Rex Thunderlizard's Wild West Review.

Do you give the children any "extras"? At birthday parties, each child gets a coloring sheet which features characters from the puppet show. For libraries, schools and community events, one copy of the coloring sheet if provided to the event coordinator to photocopy. It's a good idea to have crayons available for the children, since many of them want to start coloring immediately.

If you're looking for activities to do with children - check out my newest section: Party Ideas
How soon should I call you to book a show? As soon as you have a date and location for your event, you should book the entertainment. Some schools and libraries book six months to a year in advance. My calendar fills up fast, so I urge you to call as soon as you have your date and location decided. It's best to book your entertainment before you send out invitations, since I may not have your first date and time available.

How do I book a show?

Contact me to schedule a puppet show for your event.

What happens when I book a show? After you call and a date and time for your show is agreed upon, you must send a non-refundable deposit. This deposit holds your requested date and time, and any other events asking for that time slot will be turned away. Once your deposit is received, you will be send a written confirmation. You will be contacted by phone the day before the show to reconfirm the booking. Nick Barone Puppets will arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the show to be sure everything is set up and ready on time. After the show and the demonstration, it takes about 15-20 minutes to pack up.
Where do I send the deposit?

** Do not send a deposit unless you have booked a show with me! **

Send the deposit to:
Nick Barone Puppets
5542 Monterey Road #111
San Jose, CA 95138-1529

Do you have invitations or flyers?

Yes! Visit the customizable flyer page to make your own flyer or invitation, using pictures from the shows.

Who is behind Nick Barone Puppets?

Nick Barone writes, produces and performs all the shows from Nick Barone Puppets. He is known throughout the US as one of the best puppet builders working today, and his one-man shows have been enchanting audiences for years. His puppets were featured on HGTV's The Carol Duvall Show.

Is this your full-time job?

Yes, Nick makes his living solely as a professional puppeteer. When he is not out performing shows, he is in his workshop building new ones.

How many years have you been doing puppet shows? Nick has been performing professionally since 1991. He started doing performances for the public at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in San Diego's Balboa Park. His shows at the theater had a large following and were always well attended. He moved to Northern California in 1997 and has been busy performing at schools, libraries, private parties, community events and theaters all over the San Francisco Bay Area.
Do you have any references? Yes, check out the references page.
Do you perform shows outside of the San Francisco Bay Area? Yes. However, because of travel expenses, it is usually more cost effective to hire Nick Barone Puppets for more than one performance. There are discounts for multiple performances. Please contact me to discuss pricing and availability.
Are you insured?

Nick Barone Puppets carries performer's liability insurance through Puppeteers of America.


Puppet Shows

Public Performances
Party Ideas
Customizable Flyers