Cattywampus Puppet Council began in the summer of 2014 as a papier mache puppet making collaboration between Knoxville-based artists, Rachel Milford and Shelagh Leutwiler. After making several large puppet heads together and taking them out around the streets of Knoxville, Rachel and Shelagh were commissioned in the fall of 2014 to create a full length show for the the Dogwood Arts Festival. Multiple artists and community members joined in the process of creating this show, playing music, puppeteering, and assisting in the making of sets, puppets, and other props. Through this process, a collaborative team emerged, and the Cattywampus Puppet Council was born. Since this first collaborative show, Cattywampus Puppet Council has created several other shows for all ages and also founded Knoxville’s first giant puppet parade, the Appalachian Puppet Pageant. The Council consists of an ever rotating collective of artists, performers, dancers, musicians, and other whimsy-makers.
Cattywampus Puppet Council is a registered non-profit in the state of Tennessee and fiscally sponsored by Community Shares. CPC gathers and imagines stories inspired by nature and the human experience in the South East to bring people together. CPC’s creative direction supports critical dialogue and play as synonymous experiences for its audience and performers. Through workshops, public art, performances, and parades, CPC strives to restore live storytelling as integral to our individual growth and the health of our communities. Fundamental to this value is art accessibility, which CPC believes invigorates an individual’s sense of ownership and power within community.