To produce, develop, and present puppet theatre that celebrates the diversity of world cultures.
To expand children’s life experiences by helping them explore, create, and perform art with professional artists.

“The Reluctant Dragon”. Photo: Chris Harris

Our History

The company was founded in Hawaii in 1971 by Reg and Janet Bradley. In 1973 the Bradley’s returned to the Portland area accompanied by Norman and Dale Kaneko and began touring throughout the Northwest.

In 1980 Tears of Joy Theatre was reorganized as a not for profit corporation governed by a board of directors.

The company tours widely. In 2015-16 season it toured Western Canada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and Georgia, as well as offering a variety of educational programs in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

Tears of Joy Theatre is recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding puppet theaters and known internationally for its innovation and excellence. Each year our programs serve over 50,000 children and adults. It has received a Washington State Governor’s Arts Award and a Young Audiences Sunburst Award for its “exemplary commitment to arts in education.” Four of the theater’s productions have received American puppetry’s highest honor, The Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from UNIMA-USA.

“At Tears of Joy Theatre, puppetry is enlarged, taken on stage and combined with the tradition of classical theatrical performing. The company’s beautifully designed puppets will blow you away as they come to life.” Willamette Week


Make a financial contribution and bring the magic of puppetry to thousands of children.