American Puppeteer Enthralls South African Audiences

The United States Mission to South Africa and its Regional English Language Office hosted world-renowned American Arts Integration and English Language Specialist Karen Konnerth for a series of puppet performances for primary and high school students in Pretoria and Durban.  She also held workshops for teachers in Polokwane, Lyndhurst, and Benoni.

Konnerth is a visual storyteller who has “followed her puppets around the world,” sharing stories and fostering imagination.  Her Calliope Puppets bring to life original adaptations of three of Aesop’s fables with dynamic hand-sewn and sculpted puppets.

Also a dedicated educator, Konnerth offers workshops that help teachers to integrate arts into their teaching to nurture learning and creative thinking in children with diverse learning styles and academic abilities.  Teachers will see how to get learners to create themed stories, make puppets, and perform.  Skills such as problem-solving, listening, sequencing, decision-making, and collaborative learning are strengthened step-by-step.

Konnerth’s visit formed part of the U.S. Mission to South Africa’s ongoing collaboration with South Africans to promote education and innovation.  In addition to bringing American experts here to share best practices, the U.S. Mission sends more than 200 South Africans to the United States each year on a range of educational and cultural exchanges.

More about Karen Konnerth:

She was awarded the 2011 Puppeteers of America Marjorie Batchelder McPharlin Award for her contributions to the field of education.  She also initiated and directed the puppetry component of the Teen Docent Program at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and was awarded a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  View her YouTube channel at