The Rainbow Puppet Company Biographies
Richard Gardiner - Richard is the creator, director, script writer and principal puppeteer of the Rainbow Puppet Company. He developed his skills as a puppeteer during his tenure, starting in the late 1980’s, while performing with the internationally renowned Brewery Puppet Troupe (more on that in below bio). It was during that time, under the watchful eye of Master Puppeteer Brad Brewer, that Richard’s skills rapidly developed. Mr. Brewer described Richard’s contribution by saying “Richard brings style and intensity of off-beat characters that add balance and depth to the troupe.”
Richard also used his passion for puppetry and enjoyment of working with children to create an after school puppetry program for the Dwight School, a prestigious private school in New York City. Richard later developed and designed his own line of colorful sock puppet characters, a creative process that, in turn, led to the concept of using puppets to add new dimensions to early childhood education. This process resulted in The Rainbow Puppet Company’s “Let’s Learn Together” series appearing on PBS as part of their renowned PBS kids programming. He hopes that, through his puppets, children across the country will discover the joy of learning and the satisfaction of applying the lessons learned.
Brad Brewer - Wrote, directed and choreographed all the shows performed by The Brewery Puppet Troupe, the only African American puppet company to gain recognition on Broadway (the Richard Rodgers theater), network television (The Cosby Show and Rosie O‘Donnell Show and motion pictures (“Ransom with Mel Gibson). The Brewery Troupe has, for over 35 years, entertained audiences across the United States, and throughout Europe and Asia including Spain, Germany, Italy, Singapore, The Netherlands and Japan.
Brad is a Master Puppeteer whose interest in puppetry began when he was six years old. He was self-taught as a child and later trained under the great Jim Henson. He will be a principal puppeteer, artistic consultant and aid in script development. Brad’s puppetry skills and knowledge will add a level of professionalism that will insure a world class product.
Zachary Barton - Zack is a film director and producer with years of experience in the industry, including work on high-rated television shows such as The Glades and Graceland. He also worked for KZK productions and Sony Pictures TV on the Netflix original show Bloodline. Zack has strong expertise in media production and is an accomplished writer exhibiting strong skills and experience with lighting and composition. He has worked as the Director of Photography on several productions. Zack won the Communicator, AVA, MarCom and Davey awards as a Director of Photography on a Nike spec commercial.
Zack studied film production at Palm Beach Atlantic University under Academy award-winning Professor Antonio Zarro. He graduated from the Illumination Tour of Cinematography taught by top industry professional Shane Hurlbut, who has been the Director of Photography on films such as Terminator Salvation and Need for Speed.
Dr. Eric Cooper - Dr. Cooper is the President of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA). He served in a similar position as Executive Director for the NUA at Columbia University’s Teacher College and as Adjunct Associate Professor for 7 years. He has worked in the capacities of Associate Director of Program Development for the College Board and Administrative Assistance in the Office of Curriculum for the Boston Public Schools. Eric also has worked as a teacher, researcher, counselor, and
Additional professional activities include producer of educational documentaries as well as an advisor to the International Reading Association, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Journal of Reading.
Eric’s knowledge and understanding in the field of early childhood education more than qualifies him for his role as an advisor to The Rainbow Puppet Company.
Marc B. Wiskoff - Retired college professor and former IT Director in the City University of New York. During his academic career he was also an elementary school science teacher and a high school technology teacher. Currently Professor Wiskoff is the Senior Technical Advisor for Space and Atmospheric Studies at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.
Marc will be involved in curriculum development as well as all aspects of marketing, merchandising and client support services.