I'm the youngest of three kids who all grew up with Sesame Street and Muppet tapes, toys, and books, so I got all of the hand-me-downs. Being exposed to all sorts of entertainment like cartoons and movies, the Muppets and that style of puppetry seemed like something special and it caught my attention a little more than everything else. I think it's because of the tangibility that comes with puppetry which a cartoon, for example, doesn't have. At a very young age, I came to understand how puppetry works and immediately fell in love with the process because, aside from it being so entertaining to watch, it looked like a lot of fun to be a part of and I wanted to have that same fun. I started building my own puppets at about the age of ten, and around the same time I met Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. She was the first Muppet performer I met and she got me in touch with Kevin Clash, who so willingly took me under his wing and trained me. Since then, I've been able to interact and work with Muppet performers. As a result, my puppetry has improved greatly. I can apply what I've learned to my own work that I've been doing since I was eleven years old. Over the years, I've developed a certain level of experience and confidence to where I'm able to consider myself a professional puppeteer.

Artist statement
I personally don't think about being an "African American" puppeteer. I've always been inspired by the Muppets, which for the most part aren't any specific race. They're creatures that coexist in the world. What's inspiring about it is that there is no limit to a puppeteer; no typecasting. A puppeteer can play any role, no matter what race he or she is. Therefore, rarely do I ever acknowledge it. To me, the puppeteer’s racial identity is secondary to the performance. However, I do think it's important for the African American community to see an artist such as this, who can breathe life into a character and make it real and enjoyable for an audience. How did you learn your craft?
Watching TV and videos, practicing along with what I would watch. Also, reading historical and instructional information.

Tau Bennett Location
Brooklyn, NY Date of birth
1999 Years active in puppetry
2008-present Types of puppets performed and built
Hand puppets; rod puppets; hand-and-rod puppets Representative productions
The Rumble Ensemble (2016-present) Facebook
Tau Bennett YouTube channel
The Rumble Ensemble ! Instagram