Pete and Penelope


It feels like forever since I last updated this blog. 2014 was a whirlwind of a year with lots of crazy activity–both personally and professionally. But the Thistledown Puppets blog is now back for 2015–and with an amazing new project! Thistledown Puppets has been tasked with building the puppets for a new television show that is in development called Pete and Penelope– created by Adam Bush and Stephen Posey. This show, featuring puppets, will be geared toward preschool kids with the goal of helping them develop character and their Emotional Quotient. This from P&P creator Adam Bush:

“Our show is all about helping kids develop great character. Throughout the show we’ll deal with themes like being kind to each other, controlling our emotions (even when we’re upset), and making the decision to be happy even when things aren’t going our way. There’s no better way to tackle character development then to create two characters who embody the true character of little boys and girls all over the world.”


Adam and Stephen have been developing the concept for this show for over a year (check out their blog) and now it’s time to bring the characters to three dimensional life. I’ve begun the preliminary work of doing character turnarounds and developing patterns and such. In subsequent posts, I’ll introduce you to the characters and give you access to the workshop, letting you follow along as the puppets come to life. Happy New Year and stay tuned!

New Batch of Thistledown Puppets for Sale!

We’ve gotten a jump on our annual Spring Cleaning and would like to see some puppets go to good homes where they will be used and enjoyed. They are for sale on a first come, first serve basis at prices that are much lower than they would be if they were being commissioned as custom puppets. If you are interested in any of them, please email me at I accept payments via credit card or PayPal.

Aslan the Lion puppet: This guy was created for a Narnia event that we did several years ago. He is 30″ from top of head to bottom of mane and has an 18″ paw that you can put your arm into to add life to the character.

Big Goat puppet: This goat was used in our video “Space Trip”, an homage to Star Trek. He can also be seen in Crabtree Furniture’s Sid’s Black Friday commercial. He is 24″ tall and has rod arms.

Mouse puppet: This little lady was a star in Alex Lucas’ Give: A Christmas Musical. She is 17″ tall and has a rod arm.

Little Goat puppet: This little guy was used in a live Three Billy Goats Gruff show we did several years ago. He is 14″ tall and has a rod arm.

Girl puppet: This puppet also starred in Give: A Puppet Musical. She is 24″ tall and has a live glove hand.

Thistledown puppets (and puppet parts) for sale! PRICE REDUCED

Most people do Spring cleaning, but here at Thistledown Puppets, we do Summer cleaning. As part of that, and to make room in the constantly expanding workshop, we’re selling several puppets. This is your chance to own a Thistledown puppet at a fraction of the cost. Below is the breakdown for each–if you are interested in any of them please e-mail me at and I’ll be happy to send you a PayPal invoice and discuss shipping details.

1) A large girl puppet with one live hand. This puppet includes two costumes–one sweater and one pajama shirt. This character was used in Give: A Puppet Musical, produced here in Roanoke a couple of Christmases ago. (This girl and the following boy can also be sold as a set for $900)

2) A large boy puppet with one glove hand. This puppet also comes with two costumes–one shirt and one pajama shirt (custom sweater not for sale). This puppet was also used in Give: A Puppet Musical. (Can be sold with the above girl puppet as a set for $900).

3) A cat puppet. This was the Alley Cat from Give: A Puppet Musical. He has one glove hand and an intentional “shabby” or “mangy” look.

4) A smaller redheaded boy puppet. This puppet includes arm rods and one costume.

5) An owl puppet. This little guy was used in our “Countdown to Harry Potter” YouTube video several years ago.

6) A puppet head. This head is the same size as the redhead boy puppet. It was intended to be created as a companion, but we never got around to completing it. All you would need to do is build a body with arms and maybe add a hair feature and this puppet would be ready to go.

7) A box of vinyl scraps. There are three solid colors (about a half yard of two, a quarter yard of gray) and two “snakeskin” colors (about one yard of each). These scraps are sold as one box–not separately.

I will sell these on a first come-first serve basis, so get in touch as soon as you can!

Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A

The opportunity to use a full bull suit doesn’t come around often, so when Chick-Fil-A announced Cow Appreciation Day, well…I jumped on board. The deal is this: dress up as a cow and get a free meal. I did…and I did.

Here’s Bull and the Chick-Fil-A Cow. I think she felt a little threatened.

Bull and the Cow

And here’s Bull using a straw for an unintended purpose.

Bull being crude

Ah, the spoils of victory…a free meal. And I only lost 10 pounds of sweat to get it.

Bull with his free meal

Meet The Cast of Give: A Christmas Musical

With the official opening of Give: A Christmas Musical just a couple weeks away (go buy tickets now!), I thought I’d introduce you to the talented people I’ve had the honor of spending a bunch of time with. So here is the cast in alphabetical order:

Philip Hatter

Philip Hatter (“Alley Cat,” Puppet Performer and Voice) is a seasoned puppet builder and performer and is the founder of Thistledown Puppets. He most recently was seen performing as “Pig” in Bull: A Puppet Musical and is excited to offer his craft and expertise to GIVE.

Jessie Hatter

Jessie Hatter (“Mommy”) is a new Mommy in real life. She is fairly new to Roanoke theater and most recently performed as “Ewe” in Bull: A Puppet Musical. She is excited to be on stage again with the cast of GIVE.

Elizabeth Jones

Elizabeth Jones (“Allie Mouse,” Puppet Performer and Voice) Elizabeth Matthews Jones is a graduate student at Hollins University studying Creative Writing and Theatre, and is extremely honored to be a part of the world premier of GIVE.

Aimee Perkins

Aimee Perkins (“DeeDee,” Puppet Performer and Voice) Aimee Perkins is so thrilled to be working on a project with the wonderful and talented A.D. Lucas. She has been in several shows in Roanoke, and is so happy to be working with such a wonderfully talented bunch.

Aaron Sifford

Aaron Sifford (“Bobby,” Puppet Performer and Voice) Aaron is a local actor who is extremely excited to be a part of this production. Aaron has appeared in several shows here in the valley, the most recent being as “The Padre” in Man of La Mancha at Showtimers.

Joshua Taylor

Josh Taylor (“Daddy”) Josh is so excited to be a part of this incredible show … even though he doesn’t get to be a puppet … this time! Josh has appeared in several local productions since moving to Roanoke, most recently performed roles in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Violet. Other credits include “George” in Our Town, “Sky Masterson” in Guys and Dolls, and the “Teen Angel” in Grease.

Alex Lucas

Alex Lucas (Playwright, Director) Alex D. Lucas is a playwright, lyricist, and composer living and working in Roanoke, VA. His most recent musical play Bull: A Puppet Musical premiered right here at the Dumas Center as a part of the Roanoke Arts Festival in 2008. That play has been produced and performed over the past two years in Greece. GIVE, Lucas’s second musical, represents a two-and-a-half year process of development that started as an idea to raise money for those in need during the holidays.

Give! A Christmas Musical

a.d. lucas

This Christmas season, Thistledown Puppets will be designing, building, and performing four puppets for a new musical entitled “Give!” written and directed by our good friend Alex (A.D.) Lucas. The show will be performed here locally in Roanoke–in the same venue where Bull: A Puppet Musical (also written by Mr. Lucas) was staged a couple of years ago. Give! is currently in pre-production, and after a couple of readings of the play, I can tell you that I am really excited to be a part of it.

If you have plans to be in southwest Virginia this Christmas season, you won’t want to miss it. For more information on the show, visit the website or the blog.

Stay tuned for puppet designs and images…