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Marine Science Performer/Puppeteer

Seattle Aquarium
Seattle, United States Posted: November 03, 2023

The Seattle Aquarium is looking for a part time marine science performer/puppeteer to join the School and Public Programs team. This role is part of ongoing performance-based education and guest experiences supporting appreciation of our marine world. The marine science performer is responsible for teaching, inspiring, and entertaining Aquarium guests through performances in live story time, puppet-based theatrical shows, trainings, and other engagement programs. These live performances, typically 3 per day, may be the same show and require acting, audience interaction, puppetry, singing, and humor. Performing staff will apply their talent and enthusiasm to provide the highest level of performance and customer service for guests, community, and professional peers while supporting the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of our marine environment. Performances will primarily take place on Aquarium grounds, both indoor and outdoor spaces. Special programs may also include travel to nearby off-site locations alongside other Aquarium staff on the outreach team. Audiences will consist of general visitors, school groups, camps, and community partner organizations.  

The performers will work with the Public Programs Coordinator to provide the highest educational and entertainment quality. Additionally, this role will help to develop new shows and programs through script writing and program development alongside other School & Public Programs staff under the direct supervision of the Public Programs Coordinator. We view this work through an equity lens to remove barriers where they exist for community members to meaningfully engage with the Aquarium. The Marine Science Performer’s role is to provide a creative and entertaining pathway to foster authentic, mutual relationships between the Aquarium and the community and bring diverse audiences together to achieve our mission. This work supports our goal of fostering empathy for wildlife and making the Aquarium and its programs accessible and welcoming to all. 

Key functions:  
  • Educate and inspire the public through performance in the Seattle Aquarium’s theatrical programs, as both a puppeteer and performer.   
  • Set-up, strike, and proper storage of all show elements.  
  • Care and maintenance of all puppets, props, stage elements, costumes, audio equipment, and other equipment as assigned. Will work with the Public Programs Coordinator and other members of Seattle Aquarium staff for repairs as needed. 
  • Provide high level of customer service and professionalism with Aquarium guests and colleagues.  Anticipate needs of visitors and volunteers, addressing barriers to participation for BIPOC, LGBTQ and disability communities in an effort to create an inclusive community.   
  • Support training of back-up and/or future staff and/or volunteer performers. Lead staff and volunteers supporting puppet shows and educational programming.  
  • Program writing and development which may include original scripts, story adaptations, and activities for camps, classes, or youth groups.  
  • Contribute to the enhancement of Aquarium programs, events, and performances by sharing theater and performance expertise. 
  • Work with other Seattle Aquarium staff and volunteers on special events and programming such as Marine Summer Camp, as asked. 
  • Engage in impromptu interactions with guests during select dates and times to bridge understanding of marine science and conservation concepts. Examples include engaging with crowds following scripted shows, time permitting.  
  • Support and facilitate additional educational programming at the Aquarium and in the community. 
  • All Aquarium staff and volunteers are expected to participate in advancing and integrating into their work Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Regenerative practices in alignment with our S.A.L.I.S.H. Values. 
  • Other duties as assigned.   
Experience Required
  • We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education to meet minimum requirements.
  • Training and/or previous experience in acting, improv, dance and vocal performance.
  • Dance or movement training a plus.
  • Experience may be from professional and or/amateur performance in theatre, film, tv, or internet media, as well as from formal training (College/university theatre, etc.).
  • Previous experience working with children or perfoming for young audiences.
  • Previous experience in a teaching environment.
  • Knowledge of and skill in acting and performance. Playwriting, program development, storytelling and/or acting for young audiences.
  • Ability to adapt communication to meet varying needs and interests of guests, including to speak with and direct large groups.
  • An interest in teaching techniques to guide audiences to educational outcomes.
  • Able to memorize scripts for live shows and other content. Skill in improvisational performance.
  • A willingness to learn science content for use in performances.
  • Able to take and implement direction and work well in a highly collaborative, team environment.
  • Excellent oral communication skills.
  • Multilingual and multicultural communication skills and experience are preferred. 
  • Able to operate or learn to operate hand puppets used by existing programming.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the Aquarium’s Mission and Values, including Regenerative, Equity, anti-racist, social justice, and culturally relevant storytelling. Will be given resources and training to support impromptu responses to guests on the institutional commitments to these values.

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