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Vanessa. S. Valliere is a performer, puppeteer and clown.

Vanessa toured both nationally and internationally (China, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France) as Ada with Manual Cinema in their production of Ada/Ava. Manual Cinema is an Emmy award winning internationally touring cinematic shadow and live action company based in Chicago. She is also one of the original cast members of Manual Cinema's The End of TV, a production that was given a New England Foundation for the Arts National Theater Project grant.

From 2011 to 2016, Vanessa was a member of an ensemble of clowns/performers for Tour De Fat, a touring festival sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. The Tour De Fat ensemble was responsible for the creation and performance of the festival’s creative content.


Vanessa also performed with Big Nazo, a puppet company based in Providence, RI. She has performed in Chicago with the Neo-Futurists, The New Colony, Theater Unspeakable and Pivot Arts. She was a co-deviser and  touring performer, with Theater Unspeakable’s The American Revolution, a production that toured nationally and was presented by Lincoln Center Education in New York. She was also an original ensemble member of the company’s production of Moon Shot and has played the role of Jimmy in Superman 2050. Vanessa has also been a Rehearsal Director for all three productions, most recently directing a version of The American Revolution that went to Lincoln Center Education. 

In November 2019, Vanessa performed her own work in Blair Thomas’s Neighborhood Tour in Chicago. Vanessa has performed her devised solo puppetry/clown work in Chicago at every International Puppet Theater Festival, The Actor’s Gymnasium, Loyola University, Links Hall, IO and Theater on the Lake. She was asked to perform at the National Puppet Slam in St. Paul in 2017, in Atlanta in 2018, and for the online streaming version of the show Slamdemic in 2020. She was also invited to perform both her short form and evening length shows at DragonCon in 2017 and 2018. She has toured nationally with her shows in the Le Tigre Tent and her puppet shows have been featured at the LEAF Festival in Black Mountain, NC, Puppets and Pasties in Brooklyn, the Puckin Fuppet Slam in Atlanta, Boobie Trap in LA, the Wham Bam Puppet Slam in Asheville, NC, The Empire Revue in Providence, RI and the Toy Theater After Dark Festival at Open Eye Figure Theater in Minneapolis. Her evening-length presentation of collected works (titled Honorable Mention) was produced by Pivot Arts and had a run in Chicago in 2015 at the Uptown Underground. 

In 2020, Vanessa was awarded a commission by Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams to create Gut Feelings, a short puppet film. Vanessa devised, co-starred, directed and edited Gut Feelings, which was shot in one room at the height of the pandemic. The film was selected to screen at the London Mime Festival and the Festival of Animated Objects in Calgary, Canada. It was also screened at ten film festivals and received “Best Comedy Short” at the Carmarthen Bay Festival in Wales, “Jury Award for Creative Achievement” at the Arizona International Film Festival, the “Cheer Up” award at the Short Film Factory Festival in Bucharest, Romania and “Audience Favorite” award at the Sound of Silent Film in Chicago.


Vanessa received an Individual Artist Support grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) in 2019 and a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) grant in 2020. She was the recipient of a 3Arts Make A Wave Grant in 2017, a DCASE grant and Allie’s Gift from Filament Theater in 2012, and residencies with The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, Links Hall and High Concept Labs in Chicago. 

In 2022 & 2023 She completed two residencies at Nordland Visual Theater in Stamsund, Norway as the Assistant Director to Neville Tranter on Yael Rasooli's solo puppet show, Edith Et Moi. 

Vanessa is a proud nerd-cheerleader for Chicago's own thirty-piece circus punk marching band, Mucca Pazza. Mucca Pazza is a national touring band that has been featured on the Conan O'Brien show and Tiny Desk Concerts. Vanessa has also been a lindy hopper/swing dancer since 2005.

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