Director: Nancy Riggs
Puppeteers: Fracena Byrd Dolan, LeeAnna Lambert Sweatt, Nancy Riggs, and Lorie Summers
Nancy Riggs is the Director of the company and lead puppeteer. She has a BFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has studied with several notable acting companies including the National Shakespeare Conservatory. She has acted and directed for many Atlanta theaters such as the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Stage Door Players, Theatre Gael and the Shakespeare Tavern. She has also performed for children all over the southeast through the Alliance Theatre for Youth, Children’s Musical Theatre (Mobile, AL), the Academy Theatre for Youth, and Telltale Theatre. She trained in puppetry at the Center for Puppetry Arts, where she has worked in the resident and the touring companies, performing at the Kennedy Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 2014 and 2016 she was chosen to be a participant in the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. She is also past President of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild.
Nancy has worked for Piccadilly Puppets since 1997 as a puppeteer, has assisted with administrative duties, and has written several shows for the company. She has also written many dramatizations of folktales for student productions throughout many years of teaching acting to young people. She has worked or volunteered in virtually every aspect of theatre, and is a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers.
Fracena Byrd is a graduate of Spelman College with a BA in Drama/Theatre Arts and a minor in Dance. She has been a professional performer, director, puppeteer, and educator. Some of her credits include Smoky Joe’s Cafe at the Springer Opera House, and Evillene in The Wiz directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. She was in the state premiere of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. She performed with the Center for Puppetry Arts in The Adventures of Little Noodle. She’s worked with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program, in shows such as Secrets, Give Peas a Chance (a nutritional puppet show), and Fragments. She has been in Nunsense, 9 to 5, and Chicago (nominated for a Suzy Bass Award for Best Musical) at The Legacy Theatre. Also, she has worked extensively at Academy Theatre where she directed “A Return to Silver Hill” as part of the Tapas series, and starred in Yellowman and Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite.
LeeAnna Lambert graduated magna cum laude from the University Of Connecticut with a BFA in Acting. Since moving back to Atlanta she has worked as a Teaching Artist specializing in acting and storytelling for the Alliance Theater. As a WolfTrap Artist she helps teach classroom teachers how to integrate the arts with their curriculum in order to make learning interesting and fun for the students. Using puppetry and storytelling she teaches the students how to bring stories and their imagination to life! LeeAnna has worked as an acting teacher at the Alliance Theater, Georgia Shakespeare Theater, Georgia Ensemble Theater, and Pace Academy. She has also toured as a puppeteer for Kaiser Permanente and GMT, and acted at many theaters all over the city of Atlanta.
Lorie Summers has a B.A. in Theatre and English from Smith College, and has been performing with puppets since 1997. Ms. Summers’ performances range from Japanese Bunraku Puppetry on stage, to “Xperimental Puppetry Theatre” at the Center for Puppetry Arts, to puppet shows at bookstores, and puppet therapy with adolescents who have mental illnesses. Her greatest passion since 2000 has been Kids on the Block. Kids on the Block is an international puppetry program that was started in 1977, and is operated by agencies worldwide, including Mental Health America of Georgia. What began as a volunteer position at the National Mental Health Association of Georgia (now d/b/a Mental Health America of Georgia) grew into a vocation for Lorie. Since the year 2000, she has performed for more than 50,000 children in the state of Georgia.
Board of Directors:
David Langford, President – Attorney, Atlanta Housing Authority
Fracena Byrd Dolan – Freelance Actor and Puppeteer
Justin Daniel – Teaching Artist, New Victory Theatre (NYC)
Pat Penn – Retired Educator
Matthew Robbins – Retired Technical Expert, Environmental Protection Agency
Elaine Wadsworth – Freelance Actor, Choreographer and Ballet Teacher