Andover native Terrence Burke was just toddling around when “Sesame Street” made its television debut in 1969.
But the show really sparked his interest in puppets. He recalled constantly asking his parents, “How do they do that?” They suggested that he give it a try.
In 1970, Burke’s father brought him to a puppet festival in Boston, where he got to meet Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. The experience led him to begin taking puppet classes at the Andover YMCA.
Around the age of 7, he wrote his first play and made his first puppets out of felt. His childhood creations were later featured in a showcase that the Children’s Room at Memorial Hall Library in Andover used to have in the 1970s.
“I was thrilled to have my work displayed back then,” said Burke, a 1982 graduate of Andover High School.
Now in his 50s,Terrence Burke lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a much-talked-about puppeteer on PBS. Next week, he returns to the area to give two free performances with his Wump Mucket Puppets troupe — in Methuen and his former hometown of Andover.
Burke, who last toured around New England in 2015, puppeteers and voices all of his puppet stars live. His cast for his “Bee Happy” show includes Cyril the Sea Serpent, monster of ceremonies; Coleman the Sasquatch, who opens the show with his Green Team skit about littering; Witch Willie, who performs in the Green Team with Coleman; Unka Unka the caveman, a comedian from the Stone Age who will try to grow flowers on stage; Kitty Quo Quo Qua, the trans-dimensional intergalactic space cat; G’Wizzl, the super space princess; QB, the Queen Bee; and worker bees.
Burke notes that the bee characters are a nod to his mother, who was a beekeeper.
In this technology-based world, Burke aims to keep puppeteering fresh and lively for children by writing…