‘Sesame Street’ Hires First Black Woman Puppeteer

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

For the first time in Sesame Street history, a Black woman has landed a role as a puppeteer on the longtime PBS staple.

Megan Piphus Peace, an alumna of Vanderbilt University, scored the gig after submitting an audition tape in 2017. It wasn’t until 2020 when she received an email from Matt Vogel, Sesame Street’s puppet captain, asking if she would be interested in muppet-style puppetry, a form of theatre involving the maneuvering of inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal.

After accepting the request, she joined the Sesame Street cast, playing the role of a 6-year-old character named Gabrielle. It was around the same time that the show was producing a segment on the show called The Power of We, a racial justice workshop that featured Peace’s character.

“The sets of Sesame Street are like walking into a fantasy,” Peace told MyVU News. “To be there is really something.”

Peace began her journey in ventriloquism at the age of 10, when she attended a puppetry conference in Illinois. She immediately fell in love and familiarized herself with the craft. Her mother observed her eagerness to learn more about the art form and began providing her with VHS tapes of ventriloquists to watch and practice. It wasn’t before long that top producers noticed her talent. At 15, she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

“What I consider the magic of ventriloquism is getting to share that experience with someone else and have them believe that our conversations are real,” Peace said on Because Of Them We Can.  “I realized what an impact the writing could have on the audience, and that every age could learn something from the show. From then on, my goal was to have a theme…woven into every performance.”

To learn more about Peace and her work, check her out on Vanderbilt University’s News Channel below.

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