Thistle Theatre is a professional puppet theatre for families

Letter from the Artistic Director


Dear friends,

I am excited and intimidated to be leading Thistle Theatre on its next journey. As many of you know, Jean Enticknap the founder and long-time Artistic Director of Thistle Theatre passed away on December 31, 2021. The Board of Directors named me as Artistic Director in March of 2022. There has been a lot of learning, organizing, ups, and downs as we navigated these uncharted waters. It is an awesome responsibility to guide this theatre and honor Jean’s legacy.

My puppet career began with Jean and Thistle Theatre. It is a career that has included an MFA in Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut, The Teaching Artist Training Lab, The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, The Great Arizona Puppet Theater, and quite a number of puppet slams. The COVID lockdown brought me back to Washington and fortunately a reunion with Jean. We began planning for the future of Thistle post-pandemic. Now, those plans are in motion and I hope you will join us on this journey.

Gavin Cummins
Artistic Director

Thistle Theatre is a professional puppet theatre for families…

Thistle Theatre is based out of Seattle, Washington. We tour to schools, community centers, on video, and are available for private events and parties.

What is Bunraku

We specialize in Tabletop Bunraku , a variation of the ancient Japanese style of puppetry. The puppeteers are dressed head-to-toe in black and operate the puppets from behind. Good storytelling, realistic movement and excellent manipulation are the hallmarks of Thistle Theatre productions.

The Bunraku is fascinating to watch & each production has many levels of understanding. Over half the season ticket holders are adults, and not all of them bring children! Quality theatre has no age limit. Join us and experience the magic of Bunraku.

How to Help

Thistle Theatre files an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ. It is a 501(c)(03) public charity. Information in this report was supplied by the Thistle Theatre nonprofit organization within the last two years.

This organization is seeking funds from contributions and grants. These funds will be used for unrestricted operating expenses and special projects. Click here to make a financial contribution.

How to Contact Thistle Theatre

Go to our contact page for contact information, or call 217.358.1080.

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Children’s Ticket Subsidy Program

Part of Thistle Theatre’s mission is to promote children’s literacy using our productions and additional printed materials to reinforce reading and writing with visual, artistic and cultural diversity. Thistle Theatre created the “Children’s Ticket Subsidy Program“.

Our Favorite Sites


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Puppeteers of Puget Sound


The Jim Henson Foundation

Puppeteers of American

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