The Carters have been professional puppeteers since 1976. They trained with master puppeteers of Romania, Sicily, and China. Stephen Carter received the Fulbright Award for puppetry studies in 1984 and holds a postgraduate degree from the Institute of Theater and Cinema in Bucharest. The Carter Family Marionettes have been featured performers at National and World Puppet Festivals from Scotland to Uzbekistan. They have presented their plays in five different languages and have also been invited as guest director/designers internationally. The company has been awarded the "UNIMA/USA Citation of Excellence" (the highest award in American puppet theater) for three of their productions. Chris and Stephen Carter were the Directors of the 1999 Puppeteers of America Festival of the Millennium held at the University of Washington August 1999. The Carters are especially known for their mastery and preservation of the traditional Sicilian marionette theater known as Opera dei Pupi.
Stephen Carter has been a professional puppeteer for over thirty years. Involved in drama and visual arts, puppetry was a way to incorporate both into his work. He received his Bachelor of the Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz with one year spent studying in London. A Fulbright Scholarship from 1983 to 1985, allowed Stephen to study with master sculptor Iulius Suteu at Teatru Tandarica in Bucharest, Romania. With inspiration from visiting the great puppet theaters and puppet museums of Europe, Stephen, along with his wife Christine Carter, founded Carter Family Puppet Theater/Northwest Puppet Center. Stephen serves as Artistic Director spending his time creating puppets in his workshop, performing during the season and with touring, teaching the art of puppetry, and researching early puppet traditions. His articles have been featured in several publications, including a cover story on marionette opera for Puppetry International magazine. Stephen is recognized amongst top artists in the field of puppetry and has served as guest director and designer at theaters internationally. He has performed in over a dozen countries and in six languages.
Chris and Stephen Carter founded the Northwest Puppet Center in 1986. In 1993 they purchased and renovated a charming church in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle. The center presents a family season of puppetry by the Carters and selected guest artists with over 250 performances each year. The Northwest Puppet Center provides a valuable resource and fascinating entertainment for children and families.