Heidi Rugg

Richmond | Teaching and Performing Artist

Areas of Expertise:Puppetmaking, Storytelling, Puppetry

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About Me

Heidi Rugg is an interdisciplinary artist with her feet firmly planted in the worlds of both storytelling and puppetmaking. She is the founder of Barefoot Puppet Theatre and has toured throughout the country (and beyond!) presenting to schools, libraries, theatres, museums, and venues including The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Puppet Showplace Theater in Boston, and The Smithsonian Discovery Theatre.

As a puppet builder, Heidi works primarily with wool, silk, reed, and natural fibers; she has a passion for sustainable practices in art-making. Her work has been supported by grants from The Henson Foundation, Puppeteers of America, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Arts. In 2005, Heidi received an UNIMA-Citation of Excellence, the highest American award for puppetry.

Heidi believes in the power of the arts to transform education and change lives. As a Teaching Artist of over 20 years, she has worked with all ages – from preschool classrooms to masterclasses for professional puppeteers. In 2021, she received a Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Arts Integration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

When she is not on tour, Heidi maintains a studio practice from her home on the edge of a swamp in Richmond’s Northside where she lives with her husband, Sam, their daughter, an immortal gecko, a rescue pup, and a host of puppets.

Teaching Style

I lead with curiosity about different materials and focus on hands-on learning.

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Additional Work

Technical and Venue Requirements

Varies by performance