Board of Directors, The Jim Henson Company
President, The Jim Henson Foundation
Cheryl Henson serves on the Board of Directors for The Jim Henson Company. She is also the President of The Jim Henson Foundation, an organization promoting the art of puppetry in the United States through grants to artists and theater presenters.
As the President of The Jim Henson Foundation, Ms. Henson is an ardent advocate of contemporary puppetry. Since 1982, the Foundation has awarded over 300 grants to more than 150 American puppet artists for the creation and development of innovative new works. Ms. Henson oversees a competitive granting process to encourage the best in puppet theater. (Visit www.hensonfoundation.org for more on The Jim Henson Foundation.)
Ms. Henson executive produced the award winning biennial Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater from 1992 to 2000. These five festivals presented 136 different productions from 31 countries in 24 theaters throughout New York City. The Festival won both the Drama Desk and the OBIE Award, received coverage from prestigious sources including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, CBS Sunday Morning, and National Public Radio, and is widely acknowledged as having changed the perception of puppet theater today. (For more on these festivals visit www.hensonfestival.org)
Ms. Henson served as a Vice President of The Jim Henson Company from 1992 until 2000. During this time she was the liaison between The Jim Henson Company and Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), the producer of Sesame Street, working closely with production teams on Sesame Street shows both here and abroad. Ms. Henson believes in the power of puppets to educate as well as entertain; to transcend cultural differences and to communicate in a universal language. Having repurchased the company in 2003 with her siblings, Ms. Henson is excited to be back working with the New York branch of The Jim Henson Company where the renowned Sesame Street Muppets continue to be designed and built.
In 1994, Cheryl and the Muppet Workshop created a book to help children explore their imaginations by making puppets out of everyday objects. The Muppets Make Puppets, published by Workman Press, sold more than 100,000 copies.
Cheryl built puppets while in high school for The Muppet Show (1976-1979) and before college on The Dark Crystal (1982). After graduating from Yale (l984) with a degree in History, Cheryl continued to work on films and television specials as a puppet and mask maker. Her work is seen in the film Labyrinth (l986) and The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986). In l987, Cheryl earned a degree in textile design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and returned to Jim Henson's Creature Shop™ in London where she worked on the Storyteller and Mother Goose Stories. Later, she worked as an Art Director for Song of the Cloud Forest, a segment of The Jim Henson Hour, which was nominated for an Emmy and won a Monitor Award for Best Achievement in Entertainment Series.
Cheryl lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.