About Us

Since 1981

Amusingly eccentric education

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, we are nationally recognized for engaging and original children’s theatre productions, as well as in-school educational programs that include performances, workshops and residencies.

Children’s learning experiences are enriched with performances based on world literature and cultures, thanks to our partnerships with schools and libraries across the country. Audiences enjoy the collaborations with orchestras, museums, opera and ballet, which allow us to bring a richly textured artistic experience to children and their families.

To kick off all the fun, we premiere each season’s original productions through the Hats Off series at the Cincinnati Art Museum and Clifton Cultural Arts Center.



Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre was founded by the late Jerry Handorf and Beth Kattelman.



Madcap merged with a west side arts organization, Cincinnati Landmark Productions, and moved into our new home at the Madcap Education Center.

Puppets and arts groups make great partners

  • Art Partnerships
  • Musical Collaborations
  • Museum Collaborations
Art Partnerships

In collaboration with other organizations, Madcap also specializes in developing productions that combine puppetry with art forms such as orchestral music, ballet, opera performances and museum exhibits for family audiences around the country. These are powerful partnerships that provide an unforgettable, multi-level arts experience that opens potential for a lifetime of arts appreciation.

Musical Collaborations

Nearly 15 years ago, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Madcap Puppet Theatre put their heads together for a Christmas show that combined an originally conceived family theatre production with classical music. The natural compatibility of puppetry and music was obvious, hugely successful, and launched the development of Madcap’s collaborations with arts organizations around the country. Madcap now partners with each organization to develop a program suitable for family audiences and compatible with the repertoire to be presented. Find out more about our orchestral repertoire.

Museum Collaborations

Madcap is the resident children’s theatre at the Cincinnati Art Museum with the annual Hats Off series. This series serves to premiere original works and features productions in a variety of puppetry styles including Black Light and Shadow Puppetry, along with productions that use a wide range of puppet sizes and types. Following each performance, actors discuss the art of puppetry, answer questions and demonstrate how each puppet is constructed and manipulated. The Hats Off series also has expanded to the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. The museum setting is ideal for Madcap’s original productions, which are based on children’s literature and world cultures. This provides  museums with lively performances for children and their families that can be related to existing and visiting exhibits and draw new audiences into their galleries.



Dylan Shelton

Dylan Shelton is a creator of puppet theatre and serves as the Artistic Director of Madcap Puppets. In this role, Dylan writes and directs original puppet performances and adaptations of great literature that tour across the country and internationally.



Mel Hatch Douglas

Mel considers herself fortunate to have been mentored by Madcap founder Jerry Handorf. She acts and directs for Madcap as the Associate Artistic Director, and tours the Midwest as Madcap’s “Artist-In-Residence”.





(513) 921-5965


3064 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211