The Mission of Tears of Joy Theatre is to produce, develop, and present puppet theatre that celebrates the diversity of world cultures; and to teach children and enrich their lives by helping them experience, create, and perform art with professional artists.
Besides our extensive touring program, Tears of Joy Theatre is a resident company at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts where we present six productions each year, for a total of over 100 performances.
Tears of Joy Theatre is recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding puppet theatres, known internationally for its innovation and excellence. Each year the programs of the theatre serve over 100,000 children and adults. The company was originally 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. For over 20 years, Tears of Joy was a resident company in the Winningstad Theatre at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. In 2013, the company moved its residency to Imago Theatre. It also continues to tour widely throughout the West as well as offering a variety of educational programs in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. Tears of Joy Theatre 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 theatre’s productions have received American puppetry’s highest honor, The Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from UNIMA-USA. Tears of Joy is currently led by Artistic Director Nancy Aldrich and Managing Director Neal Spinler.
“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