Giant Puppets Save the World presents a delightful spectacle of giant puppets, stilt walkers, face painters, storytellers, puppeteers, flag spinners, giant props, and more! Giant puppets are handmade by Bay Area artist, Toni "Tone" Mikulka, out of bamboo, silk, papier mache, and recylced materials. Either an installation or roving act, a workshop or stage show, GPSTW is a crowdpleaser for all ages! Many of the puppets are lightweight and can be puppeteered by children as young as three years old with some guidance. Engaging, entertaining, and unique! (Previously featured at: Bioneers, Sunday Streets, High Sierra Music Festival, Oregon Country Fair, Daybreakers, Cisco, Google, and more.)
We did a puppet show with Toni and Joey in Jan for our holiday theme celebration. It was great!!! She responded promptly to my questions and she's flexible to work with my curriculum, time, and the way we want it to be. She has her own equipment and she came to set up earlier. During the show, she interacted with our children and her partner Joey played great music to involve the children into the stories. We had a wonderful experience with her, highly recommended!
Response from Giant Puppets Save the World:
Thanks so much Ying! We love performing you for your students and teachers and hope to see you again soon. :)
I've worked in the event space for years, as a host and promoter, and I have been incredibly impressed by Toni's work. Not only does she bring a fully artistic vision, but she also brings some of the most INCREDIBLE puppets, giant silk flags, and so much more. I kid you not, they are often the highlight of the event and the most instragammed art of my events. Work with Toni and you won't regret it!
Response from Giant Puppets Save the World:
Thank you so much for the kind words Brian! It is a pleasure to bring so much joy and creativity to your events and projects. Looking forward to doing more in the future!
I love booking Giant Puppets Save the World for the large-scale events that I produce! The crowd always loves what they bring to the experience (large puppet characters, bird puppets, huge flags, and more). The team is super easy to work with and always professional!
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 15 - 300 minutes
Languages: English, Spanish
Insurance: $1,000,000 - Specialty Performance Insurance
Website: Visit website
What to Expect
Imagine being at a conference or festival and seeing a large giant flying butterfly or silk bird float above your head. Imagine being a five year old and running with a group of your friends while holding the wings of a giant hummingbird through a field or public park. Imagine being in the audience of a musical performance and seeing a gorgeous dancer on stage moving gracefully with a giant puppet. Imagine a group of stilt walkers coming through the crowd all holding giant puppets made by a local Bay Area artist. Now, imagine that you are a part of the magic! Co-creating in a parade of fifty people marching through a major event inspiring such joy.
Giant Puppets Save the World is led by artist, Toni “Tone” Mikulka. She has spent the last ten years of her life making art for live performance. Her art skills include: giant puppets, painting enormous silk backdrops and flags, stilt walking, doing puppet shows for kids, singing and performing in various productions around the world, including Bread and Puppet Theater, Bioneers, High Sierra Music Festival, Oregon Country Fair, Symbiosis Festival, and many corporate events (to name a few).
She makes her giant flying, rod-supported bird kite puppets of silk, bamboo, reed, and papier mache, using nontoxic processes. Presented in heavy duty umbrella stands or operated by one, two or three people, the birds are lightweight and can be puppeteered by children as young as four years old with some guidance. Multi-puppeteer puppets encourage teamwork, collaboration, and communication. A symbolic virtue of how Giant Puppets Save the World, by encouraging us to work together to create something greater than ourselves.
When not in use, the birds’ poles sit in outdoor patio umbrella stands. They are beautiful free standing pieces and can be positioned in a variety of ways and are excellent in wind.
Toni has created five Phoenixes, one yellow bird, “Sol,” five Cedar Waxwing Birds, a white Peace Bird, “Olive,” two humming birds (Anna’s and Rufus’), two Monarch Butterflies, a giant Kirtland’s Warbler, a three-person Monarch Caterpillar, several glowing chrysalis lanterns, giant silk butterfly wings, and many other props and custom puppet pieces, including forty-nine giant rainbow flags, four large sunset colored flags, and most recently, giant silk galaxy flags.
Toni’s giant silk flags and wings, are hand-dyed, using nontoxic methods. Her intention is to make flags to symbolize honor, justice, peace, equality, hope, and sustainability. Last year she completed forty-nine rainbow flags to memorialize the forty-nine souls lost in the Orlando attacks in June 2016 (see image above). Toni also maintains and restores the vintage Wise Fool Puppets made in the 90’s to protest nuclear power and environmental policies.
A NOTE FROM TONI:
A little more about me: I studied Anthropology and Art at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, where I graduated in 2005, and immediately went on to work for five years in nonprofit development. In 2010 I made a career shift to practice art in action and was accepted to the Bread and Puppet Theater Company, in Glover, Vermont. I went on to work in set design and puppet performance in Seattle in 2011 where I received a grant from the Fremont Arts Council to start Giant Puppets Save the World. There I apprenticed with giant puppet artists and taught workshops for the Seattle Solstice Parade and the Procession of the Species Parade in Olympia, WA. I then followed my creative pursuits back to NYC with a performance art company as a resident Puppet Master. Longing for the West Coast culture, I settled back into California in the winter of 2012 to work at Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley as a Puppeteer. In the Bay Area I find a robust artist community with many puppetry partners. I also maintain and restore the vintage Wise Fool Puppets made by Ruby K. Blume in the 80's and 90's.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time via Facebook Thank you for your consideration!
Additional Booking Notes
The puppets range in size from 5' wide and 5' tall to 12' tall, 3' wide and 8' long. It is best to have a stage area free and clear of mic stands and drum kits before they go on for a more exaggerated theatrical performance. However, they work just as well in tight quarters. We have been on stage with several large acts, including Elephant Revival and the String Cheese Incident.
The look excellent when lit up, and many of them have an option for evening lighting. They are largely silent and need no amplification.
Influences & Inspiration
Jim Henson, Bread and Puppet Theater, The Lion King (Broadway Musical), Wise Fool Puppet Intervention, Heart of the Beast Theater, Beats Antique, Phish, Michael Franti, the Summer of Love, The Beatles, and everything from the Oregon Country Fair.
We bring all equipment needed.