Akbar Imhotep, storyteller and puppeteer discovered puppetry while between acting jobs. He toured for two years with the Vagabond Marionettes and worked for four years as a resident puppeteer with the Center for Puppetry Arts. Akbar also worked for two years as a puppeteer for Kaiser Permanente-Educational Theatre. Then he created a niche for his services as a storyteller/puppeteer. Artist statement
I've only encountered two other noted African American companies and/or puppeteers. The company was the Brewery Troupe and the puppeteer was Schroeder Cherry. I've seen maybe two or three puppet shows done by other African Americans. It's probably naïve but I think puppets transcend race. I don't consider myself an African American puppeteer. I'm a puppeteer.

My teachers, trainers, inspirers and colleagues have not been African American. You may call me an African American puppeteer because I'm an African American who loves puppetry and the creativity it nourishes. Puppetry is all encompassing and allows you to work simply or complexly. The main thing is to work; to produce, to share and have fun while doing it.

I draw tons on inspiration from folk artists and the puppeteers from around the world that I've had the opportunity to get to know, and from experiencing their work. The creator of an object can label or call it whatever he or she may desire. The main thing is “does it have a reason for being on stage?” and “is it operated effectively?”
How did you learn your craft?
I started out as stagehand for a touring marionette show. The puppeteers allowed me to climb up on the bridge and hold a marionette. I was hooked immediately. After that, I was trained or taught how to operate marionettes. More classes followed. Soon afterwards, I was able to apply all I'd learned in theatre to puppetry.

Akbar Imhotep Location
Atlanta, GA Date of birth
1951 Years active in puppetry
1979-2012 Types of puppets performed and built
Hand puppets; rod puppets; objects Representative productions
Folktales from around the world, 1985-present Website