Chris Thomas Hayes

Chris Thomas Hayes

Chris Thomas Hayes is an actor, improviser, puppeteer, writer and teaching artist from Hartford, CT. He was trained in theatre at the Hartt School of Music and Berea College in Berea, KY, where he received his degree in 2006. On stage Chris has worked with the Madcap Puppets of Cincinnati, the Center for Puppetry Arts, Whole World Theatre, Dad’s Garage, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. In 2014, he began working with Sesame Workshop, performing honkers, monsters, chickens, and learning the Muppets style of puppetry under the tutelage of Marty Robinson, Peter Linz, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Jennifer Barnhart, and Matt Vogel. In 2019, He was cast as the Muppet Performer for Jazz Saxophonist Hoots the Owl. His other screen credits include non-puppet shows like the Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf. In the classroom, Chris has worked with teachers, counselors and administrators to provide art integrated content.      

Arts Disciplines:  Theatre/Drama, Media Arts, Puppetry, Improvisation 

Core Content Curriculum Areas:  Theatre/Drama, Music, Media Arts, English/Language Arts 

Specialized Content Areas:  Literacy, STEAM, Character Education, Arts Integration 

Grade Levels:  Pre-K, K-2, 9-12  

Special Populations:  Arts & Early Learning, Arts in Medicine/Arts in Health & Wellness, Gifted Students 

Pre-Service Learning and Professional Development:  Professional Development for K-12 Teachers 

Geographic Availability:  Metro Atlanta, North Georgia, Middle Georgia

Program Fees:

  • Performance fees – $300 (one show), $400 (two shows), + Additional costs for more than 90 minutes traveled
  • Workshop fees – $125/class period + additional costs for more than 90 minutes traveled 
  • Virtual Workshop and Performance Offerings- Contact for more information 

Artistic Profile:    

Chris was trained in theatre at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music and Berea College in Berea, KY, where he received my degree in 2006. He continued his theatre training, specializing in puppetry, under John Lewandowski at the Madcap Puppets in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he also toured as a puppeteer and actor. After moving to Atlanta, Chris joined the Center for Puppetry Arts as a mainstage puppeteer under the artistic direction of Jon Ludwig. In 2014, he began working with Sesame Workshop, performing honkers, monsters, chickens, and learning the Muppets style of puppetry under the tutelage of Marty Robinson (Telly Monster & Snuffy), Peter Linz (Ernie), Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q), Jennifer Barnhart (Avenue Q), and Matt Vogel (Big Bird & Kermit the Frog). In 2019, Chris was became the Muppet Performer for Jazz Saxophonist Hoots the Owl.

Apart from puppetry, Chris has also been a professional improviser for over a decade, working with Whole World Theatre and Dad’s Garage. He’s worked with corporate theatre companies to help them spread their mission and messages. He has also been fortunate to work in film and on television as a “flesh actor”, on shows like Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf.

Teaching Experience:   

For over 15 years, Chris has worked with students of all ages and grade levels, in traditional and non-traditional classrooms. Including…

  • Working Department of Education’s TRIO program, teaching college-bound high school students and pushing others to consider post-high-school education. 
  • Creating a partnership with rural elementary schools in Paint Lick, KY to bring arts and theatre education to areas that didn’t have an arts curriculum.
  • Working with community outreach department of a major healthcare company to create educational based theatre shows, residencies, and workshops 
  • Working with private schools to bring theatre education and residencies, in conjunction with state standards.  
  • Teaching (non-certified) in both Dekalb and Gwinnett counties as both a visiting teaching artist and a long-term drama star substitute teacher.

For training, Chris has studied classroom management and curriculum development with members of both the Lincoln and Kennedy centers. He’s been trained in youth development program creation, trauma-based programming, and health education with various organizations nationally. He also has a consultation team of certified teachers that help with all performance and educational content.

Sample Programs:    

TV Puppet Bootcamp

  • Workshop
  • Theatre, Puppetry, Film and Media Arts
  • Grades: 9-12 (35 students max)
  • 50 Minutes (or 1 class period)

Description: The perfect workshop for drama, theatre, AV tech, and film studies classes. Your students will spend a class period learning from a professional television and theatre puppeteer! They’ll learn drills, skills, techniques, and exercises to help them as actors and filmmakers.
Technical Requirements: Close electrical outlet, 10×10 foot playspace, indoors only


  • Theatre Show
  • Puppetry, Drama, and Music
  • Grades: PreK, Kinder, 1st (100 Students Max)
  • 40 Minute Runtime

Description: PJ has a brand new community helper assignment with the Teppy Temp Agency! In this show, he’ll put on his overalls and head down to the farm to learn how farmers help in our community!
Community Helpers, Life Science, Math, Literacy, Music
Technical Requirements: Available Electric Outlets, 10×10 playspace, Indoors Only
Sample Lesson Plan/Study Guide:

Program Photos and Videos: 

  • Listing ID: 6052