Rhode Island
Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient

Butterworth's puppetry has taken him from performing locally at fairs and schools to an international career, leading large scale educational workshops, appearing in operas and classical music festivals, film, and television. He picks varied projects, often which involve collaboration, such as constructing a puppet theatre around an adult tricycle, helping to create an Inuit show in Nunavut, Canada, and designing sets for the 2008 St. Petersburg, Florida production of Strauss' comic opera "Die Fledermaus". His work, breathing intellectual life into this elegant, sometimes under-rated art form, has not gone without notice. He has been supported by the National Foundation for the Arts since 1979, and in 2005 he was honored with the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, for which he humbly allowed his puppets to take the bow. The grand sets, articulated special effects, and puppet staging surround the exquisitely moving marionettes and shadow puppets as they draw all into the world of Dan Butterworth. Artscope Magazine- 2009 Dan Butterworth’s international award-winning workshops and performances use shadow, light, and movement in ingenious ways. Now, the powerfully equiped Wheelchair Theaters make Dan’s intricate inventiveness accessible to all. The combination of rolling ‘Visual Chairs’ and ‘Music Chairs’ allows for full theatrical productions in a variety of performance spaces. Art Machines are now available: portals with beautiful scenes inside (easily attachable to a wall). Controls are designed to enable recovery of hands, wrists, elbows etc. A wide variety of movement is possible. A few of these in a hospital hallway and the warm, soothing sense of an 'underwater' environment will envelope the patients. Teaching Artists gather in Providence. Our goal is to legitimize and advertise the use of the Teaching Arts in Healthcare.

Dan now is working with Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada to make a permanent Animated Performance Center. In March 2019 boxes were mailed containing two rolling shadow stages (with batteries- so they don't have to be connected to an outlet) with their own curtains and a large, 17ft. wide by 6 ft. deep pipe and drape stage for hand and rod puppets as well as other performing acts. Dan will set out in August to 'teach to teach'. He will show adults in the community how to make sophisticated shadow puppets, hand and rod, as well as animated scenery.

Additional Links: 
Services provided by Dan Butterworth with video links
Full showing of Dan's workshop magic.
12 different YouTube films of Dan's work

I Have Worked With

  • November 2018

    Historical Society anual outdoor event. 5089-679-1071

    Interesting group with outdoor performers. The cold weather and wind can be a problem.


  • November 2018

    I have worked with the Bushnell Partners program for the last 15 years. I bring supplies and parts to each school I visit. Under the leadership of Yolande Spears we've managed to bring a strong dose of creativity and enhance curriculum studies at the same time to many schools in the Hartford, CT area. Last year, for instance, I had my classes create puppets of famous African Americans past and present. Then, in a culminating event, we performed a puppet show behind a pipe-and- drape theater for the parents. It was all in the guise of an Oprah Winfrey interview show. At the end all participants had their puppets dance for the crowd. This year we will do something similar. www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCyRAoGNVtE

  • October 2017

    With Gary Levinson presiding (and playing the violin) we performed both a trio and a septet version of Stravinsky's 'L'Histoire du Soldat'.

    Wonderful musicians, great crowds, and a stimulating experience all around.



  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Owner Butterworth Productions
Mailing Address: 
Pascoag, RI 02859
Physical Address: 
Pascoag, RI 02859
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Theater - Puppet
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Design - General
Humanities - General
Humanities - History
Music - Chamber
Theater - General
Theater - Children's
Theater - Devised / Artist-Led
Theater - Musical
Theater - Puppet
Theater - Solo / One-Person Show
Visual/Crafts - Carving
Visual/Crafts - Decorative Arts
Visual/Crafts - Experimental
Visual/Crafts - Mixed Media
Visual/Crafts - Sculpture
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
Incarcerated (or Formerly Incarcerated) Individuals
LGBTQ Populations
Native American Tribes
People with Disabilities
School Groups
Veteran/Active Duty Military Personnel
Institution/Business Type: 
Performing Groups
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts in Healthcare
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Community Arts
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Curriculum Development
Design Services
Film Preproduction / Production / Editing Services
Manufacturing / Fabrication
Performance / Concert / Reading
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Residency - Production / Development
Residency - Other
Theater Technical Production
Wedding / Parties / Private Gatherings
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City
Multi-County Region
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Screen Actors Guild
Pell Award for Excellency in the Arts- 2005
Keynote Speaker, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire
Keynote Speaker, Walsh High School graduation. 2016
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient
I am on the following State Arts Agency Roster(s): 
Rhode Island Education Roster

Accessibility of Services

Access accommodations for people who use a wheelchair and have limited mobility
Programs specifically designed for wheelchair and limited mobility persons. Wheelchair Theaters are designed to simply attach to existing chairs for music and image projection. Ideal for parades, singular work, and full theater productions. Some work in conjunction with The Drum Workshop, Inc. (drum-workshop.org).

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Space 12 ft. wide, 7 ft. high, 12 ft. deep.
Space for the audience with aisle for inter-active
Or- 90 minutes to a full day for educational workshops
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Rhode Island
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
Healthcare Facility
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Health
Arts Integration - History and Social Science
Arts Integration - Science / Technology / Engineering
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age
Certifications / Training: 
In 2005 Walsh High School in Providence and Coventry High School in conjunction with Chris Kane (sculptor teacher), Gene Dufault (shop teacher), and Dan Butterworth ran a 6 week workshop. The students in Coventry cut out all the marionette parts. The stud
2015 Walsh High School in Pawtucket
2016 Nowell School, Providence
2017 Beacon Charter High School for the Arts
2018 Cambridge Bay, Nunavut CA youth center
2000- 2019- Bushnell 'out reach' programs
2019 Walsh High School in Pawtucket- Shadow Puppetry
2019- The William Yandow Education Award
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: