Open Hand Theater


Geoffrey Navias
Artistic Director

Geoffrey has served as the Artistic Director of Open Hand Theater since 1982. He has performed in professional theaters in England, Russia, and Off-Broadway, and has written and directed over ninety original theater productions. He served as Chairman of the Drama Department at the Metropolitan School for the Arts, and has taught experimental theater for all ages and experience levels.

Mr. Navias teaches puppetry courses as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. His art and sculptures have been exhibited in galleries in the Syracuse area. During a tour of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" through Russia, Geoffrey was awarded Best Director at the International Theater Festival of Siberia and the Far East, and he is a recipient of the Syracuse Newspapers' 1997 "People of Achievement" Award. He lives with his wife and children in a house built originally as a tavern in 1786.


Alexandra Herryman
Managing Director

Open Hand Theater is pleased to welcome Alexandra Herryman as the theater’s new Managing Director.

Alexandra comes to Open Hand Theater from Boston, where she worked as staff production manager for Company One and stage managed for the Puppet Showplace Theater’s Puppet Slam series. Ms. Herryman studied Production Management at Boston University. Prior to that she worked in Chicago for Silk Road Theatre Project as Operations and Production Manager. 

Alexandra grew up in the Buffalo area and has  free-lanced as puppet production manager, stage manager, designer/ builder, and performer and attended this year’s National Puppetry Festival.


Leslie Archer
Producer/Arts Coordinator

Leslie has been with Open Hand Theater since 1989. She studied Performance Arts at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and the University of Poitiers, France and received her BA from Syracuse University. Leslie is one of Open Hand Theater's featured performers, stage designer, and musical director. She administers our international artist exchange and university internship programs, The Children's Puppetry Play Writing Project and arts education programs.

She is faculty consultant and vocal coach for the Media Unit, a Teen Performance and Television Production ensemble.

Leslie was the production designer for Open Hand's collaboration with Syracuse Opera "The Magic Flute", has created the musical arrangements for many Open Hand productions, and performed as a puppeteer for "Band in Berlin" with the Hudson Shad at Geva Theater in Rochester. She currently can be seen in the touring production "The Chocolate War".

Andrea Martin
Teaching Artist/Costume Designer

Andrea has been with Open Hand Theater since 1984. She is the director of Hand in Hand Youth Theater and the North Side Youth Theater Project. A graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, she worked first as an eighth grade science teacher, and then as a seamstress for Syracuse Stage.

She is a well-loved performer in our school touring productions, leads performance workshops for school and community programs and teaches acting at our Circus and performance arts camps.

Andrea performed as one of the three Sisters in "Macbeth", and can be seen in the current touring show of "The Secret of the Puppet's Book".

Vladimir Vasyagin
International Artist-in-Residence from Skomorokh Theater of Tomsk, Russia. Actor-Puppeteer

Vladimir is a graduate of the Sverdlovsk Puppetry Institute, an expert puppeteer, craftsman, and a versatile actor who has performed throughout Russia, Europe, US (Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York ) including Svidrigailov in Dostoevski's "Crime and Punishment", which toured extensively in Germany and Russia.

With Open Hand Theater since 1997, Vladimir designs and builds the structures for our puppets great and small. Vladimir is the stage and technical director of our "World of Puppets" Saturday Program.

Vladimir is the featured performer in the touring show "Grandfather Frost's Stories of Russia".

Open Hand Theater · 518 Prospect Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13208-2523 · (315) 476-0466 ·