Pittsburgh Puppet Works Gwen Bowman

Gwen Bowman

A 1997 honors graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia, Gwen attained a B.A in Spanish and a minor in Communication...Ha!  That's all true and dandy, but this is not going to be one of those kind of biographical sketches!


Folks often ask Gwen how she got started in this biz, or why in

the world she decided to start a company like Pittsburgh Puppet

Works.  Her answer is true and very simply stated,"I come from

one of those looney families! " Her Grandpa performed as

"The Red Bebe", a clown/balloon artist, her Dad- a ventriloquist

and kid- show host, while her Mom,  a puppeteer/ puppet

builder, of course!  Each year, a one- week family vacation was

spent at the International Ventriloquist Convention in Ft. Mitchell,

KY!  From an early age, Gwen attended workshops on puppet

manipulation, character voices and comedy writing.  Working

with puppets was always something she had a passion for, it

just took her a while to take the leap and try to do it for a living.


Here’s why Gwen took the leap:  In 2004, she read a book

called “Who Moved My Cheese”.  The story basically

encourages readers to accept new challenges and states that

individuals are solely to blame for anything lacking in their own

lives.  Something just clicked and, almost instantaneously,

Gwen decided to pursue performing, full-time.  Two weeks

later, she auditioned with Walt Disney Entertainment and

promptly relocated to Orlando, FL where she performed in the

4 theme parks.While there, Gwen attended puppetry workshops

and auditions and quickly realized that at a mere 5’2",  she was

simply too short in stature to attain the prime puppetry roles!

Then, Gwen got an idea.  Why not move back to Pittsburgh,

create a puppet production company and build the theaters

to accommodate her height!  Pittsburgh Puppet Works was

born.  Gwen moved back to "The 'Burgh" from Orlando in

October of 2004, and two months later, she performed

PPW's very first show.  The company has grown quickly and exponentially since that first performance.  When asked the reason for this growth, the following, is Gwen's reply:


" I think what makes our operation successful and unique is the

fact that there is not just one brain behind the creation of the

shows.  All of the puppeteers come from diverse areas of expertise and generously contribute their talents, skills,

silliness and an occasional character voice!  We are fortunate to not only have such resources readily available, but to have the

opportunity to develop such a great camaraderie with the entertainers in our company.   We have just as much fun working with the clients during the event planning process- since PPW is owned and operated by entertainers we have the unique perspective of knowing what makes an event really work so we customize each and every experience to make it as smooth and as magical as possible."


© Copywright Pittsburgh Puppet Works 2016