Mark Hellerstein

I became passionate about ventriloquism the moment I checked Paul Winchell’s book out from the library when I was ten years old. The picture of Winchell and Jerry Mahoney on the cover brought to mind early childhood memories that just sparked a passion in me that has remained as strong today, 50 years later, as it was the moment I first saw that book. Ventriloquism changed my life in so many ways. Not only did I learn the basic principles, but as I delved deeper I discovered that the art encompasses virtually all aspects of performance: writing, acting, comedy, storytelling, singing, music, staging and even physical art itself (making figures and props). Although I didn’t make ventriloquism my primary career, the skills I learned (passion, discipline, creativity, speaking in groups, memorization, thinking on my feet) were critical in helping me achieve heights I never dreamed possible (graduated #1 from University of Colorado; highest grade in USA on CPA exam (out of 38,000 participants); Ernst & Young’s National Entrepreneur of the Year (presented by Jay Leno); and Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Hall of Fame). But maybe most important to me was being named one of the most talented ventriloquists in the world by Valentine Vox, THE definitive authority on the history of ventriloquism and ventriloquists and author of I Can See Your Lips Moving, A History of the Art of Ventriloquism, as well as winning first place in the Colorado Stars of Tomorrow contest.

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Explore: Storytelling, Theatre, Puppets, Reading


Individual workshop and performance prices are determined by each artist. Please contact us for performance and workshop pricing for a particular artist. Visit our Pricing page for other pricing information.

  • Ventriloquism and Puppets

    Workshop or Residency for grades 3rd through 6th

    Ventriloquism and Puppet Workshop. Kids learn the history of ventriloquism; our favorites and why; 3 types of ventriloquism; what makes it work; beginning lessons and advanced lessons. With the use of DVD, power point, actual demonstrations and puppets, kids can see how it works and make it a hands-on experience. A puppet making session can be added (additional material fee).

  • Storytelling, Writing and Reading

    Workshop or Residency for grades 3rd through 6th

    Kids learn the six parts of a story (who, what, when where, why and how) and together create a story of their own. They learn how to bring written stories to life through description that incorporates the five senses, emotions and comparison. They learn to make the story meaningful and memorable through character development. Mark incorporates the various elements of theatre: staging, props, sound, backdrops, transitions, voices, character development, which can be incorporated in the kids own plays or in verbal storytelling. The combination of power point, demonstration and participation keep the kids attentive, but most importantly they learn key concepts that will stay with them.

  • School to Career

    Workshop or Residency for grades 8th through 12th

    Drawing on experiences gained in a successful business career (highest grade in USA on CPA exam; Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year; CEO of NYSE company recognized as one of the top 100 companies in the nation multiple times by Fortune, Forbes and Business Week), Mark helps students learn why people work and how to combine talent, passion and knowledge/skill into a successful life. Not only is this educational, but the use of stories, visual aids, and ventriloquism make it an engrossing program.

  • Adventure in Ventriloquism

    Performance for grades 2nd through 6th

    Performance takes students on a time machine journey to Dr. Frankenstein’s castle where Mark and friends recreate the famous experiment. Not only do kids participate in the program, but Mark uses ventriloquism to produce special sound effects and surprises. Kids will learn how this classic story teaches you to treat others with respect and to pick your friends carefully. It is fun and funny and there is lots of audience participation. Plus a Q&A session on puppets and ventriloquism. Perfect for in-school performances and family night programs.

  • Adventure in Reading

    Performance for grades K through 6th

    Willy Worm takes kids on an “Adventure in Reading” where they not only explore how reading opens up a world of learning, but also why reading is important. A highlight is when Willy tells them a hilarious “fractured” version of a story he has just read. By using their imagination, kids literally cause a drawing to come to life right before their eyes. Students will love Jack and the Beanstalk with the help of a full stage marionette puppet/ventriloquism production. Kids will also meet Pansy, a funny and lovable baby chimpanzee. Includes original music, songs and audience participation. 75 student maximum per performance.

  • Puppets and Things on Strings

    Performance for grades Pre-K through 4th

    Mark incorporates ventriloquism, puppets, and marionettes for a program of education, comedy, theater, melodrama, storytelling and audience participation. 150 student maximum per performance.