Meet Our Team

We’re the creators of Circus Town, a new, 100% puppet television show. Circus Town introduces kids to physics through the wonder of the circus. Follow Sally Spangles and Gerald the Giraffe on their adventures in Circus Town!

We’re here to show you that physics is everywhere, and physics is fun!

So who are we?


Gina pub shot
Gina Leigh: series creator, designer, writer

Gina is a writer, puppeteer, and teaching artist. She sees writing for puppetry as the best way to expand the possibilities of both art forms. Gina writes for both children and adult audiences. She has puppeteered on two national tours, performed Alfreda the Cheetah in X.Tink.Shun at the Philadelphia Zoo for the Jim Henson Company, and has written and performed for puppet slams around the country. In 2013, Gina was invited to be Writer-In-Residence at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. There, she wrote the full-length puppet play Our Native Chaos: A True Myth For Sarah Fox. Gina holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and a BFA in Directing, Playwriting, and Production from University of the Arts.


Aaron pub shot
Aaron Lathrop: series puppet designer & puppet captain

Aaron is a puppeteer, designer, actor, and singer. One of his specialties is creating larger-than-life, wearable foam puppets. Aaron has puppeteered on two national tours, he performed the character of Igor the Tiger for X.Tink.Shun at the Philadelphia Zoo by the Jim Henson Company, and he has created creatures large and small for puppet slams. Most recently, Aaron can be seen in Enchantment Theatre Company’s The Brave Little Tailor, a show that tours to underprivileged schools for free. Aaron built two giant puppet-masks, a rhino puppet-mask, many props, and a giant, smoke-breathing, three-person dragon puppet for Tailor.


Annie Pub Shot
Annie Coburn: series director

Anne Coburn’s experience as a writer, director, and producer ranges from fiction to documentary. She is currently the in-house writer and producer for Sundance winning People’s TV, whose branded content work spans from grassroots activist campaigns to Fortune 100 companies. She has worked for Oscar- and Emmy-winning documentarians, and as an independent director and producer of short fiction films, some of which have been seen at festivals around the country. She holds an MFA from American University and a BA from Oberlin College.


HootsFleas Pub Shot
Sean Hoots: series composer, voice of Newton Flea

Sean Hoots is a maker of musics from the land of West Philadelphia.  Perhaps best known for his roots/rock ensemble Hoots & Hellmouth, Hoots has been writing, performing, producing, and recording across a wide swath of genres for over two decades.  Circus Town will be his first physics-based puppet show collaboration, and he couldn’t be happier for the opportunity.


NPO Pub Shot
New Puppet Order: co-producers

The New Puppet Order is the preeminent independent puppetry motion picture company. Films include Ed Is A Portal, Shadow Puppets, The Wind Up Boy, Dark Companion, Monkey Branes, and more.



Follow the North Star!

Hi there. You there, reading this lil’ old blog.

Lots of you have told us to keep you updated about Circus Town, about our local performances, and our other hijinks and adventures.

Updating everyone individually is hard. It’s a terrible strain on the 1,000 monkeys we keep at 1,000 typewriters. Luckily Mailchimp can do it all at once. (What is it about primates and email here…?)

Sign up for our mailing list, powered by Mailchimp, and get the good news about us. We won’t ever spam you, unless we’re doing something that actually involves SPAM. We will send you cool updates and interesting tidbits about North Star Puppets and Circus Town.

Sign up now, because I promise you, we have some VERY cool things to announce, VERY soon. Sooooooooon!


PS- Sign up here!

(image via

Representation in Circus Town

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, I thought I would address representation on our show. This is something I feel strongly about, and I have from the very beginning of our story.

It’s no coincidence that our protagonist, Sally Spangles, is multiracial. She’s a mixed kid with a black mom and a white dad. It’s no coincidence that our protagonist is a girl. Why? Representation. The main point of the show is to ignite curiosity about physics, through the arts. Physics and arts are STEAM topics- that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math.

Women, and especially women of color, are still underrepresented in grown-up STEAM pursuits. They experience high levels of bias based on their gender and color. (In this study, 100% of women of color in STEM fields experienced gender bias, higher than the still-depressing 93% of white women in STEM.) That’s not ok. I fully believe in the power of children’s television to make the world a better place. Physics and the arts are for everyone. We want kids everywhere to see a little bit of themselves in Sally, to imagine themselves living and playing in Circus Town.

In my own quick Google search for the generic term “scientist stock images,” the results were depressing. In the top 50 images to come up, there were 11 women, 8 men and women of color, and 38 white men. The first 15 images returned were of white men in lab coats. This is the current face of the word “scientist”.

In her blog for Huffington Post, Marian Wright Edelman coined the phrase “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” She goes on to say that inclusion of children of color in children’s books is not only a matter of representation, but of global connection for all children. In my opinion, connection is the fastest way to knock down walls of misunderstanding in society. We can relate, we can communicate, and we can consider each other as equals.

It comes back to the words of King, ringing true throughout the generations. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.” Here in Circus Town, we’re going to keep dreaming that dream.

(Photo credit:

Concept art of Circus Town

We’re having fun… We’re hard at work… We’re both! This is our latest  concept art we’ve been creating for Circus Town. (You can read more about Circus Town here.) It’s a huge task to figure out the look of a new show, so we’re trying to go in with as many decisions made as possible.

Decisions about color, texture, fabrics, character design, overall look and style, and the performance of the puppets are all in the works. You could consider it a daunting task, but hey, that’s how magic gets made… one brainwave at a time. We love this stuff!


Look out for CIRCUS TOWN!

Circus Town is an original, all-puppet TV series. It teaches physics to kids age 7-9 through the stories of The Spangles Family Circus!

Sally Spangles is the youngest member of the Spangles Family Circus. She loves outer space, making up new circus tricks, and her best friend- Gerald the Giraffe. Come with Sally on her adventures as she learns about how the world works through the wonders of physics.

Coming Summer 2016!