The inaugural Chicago Puppet Festival was such a overwhelming success that organizers have created a larger, longer 2017 festival. Running from January 19 -29, the event features an international line-up for puppet artists with events for children, families and adults.
Chicago’s connection with puppets goes back to the beginning of the 20th Century. “Many consider Chicago the birthplace of the contemporary art of puppetry. In fact, before 1912 the term ‘puppeteer’ did not even exist in the English language. That was the year the Little Theater of Chicago was founded in the historic Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, and is widely cited as the start of the ‘Little Theater” movement in the United States.,” according to a recent press release.
The Chicago Puppet Festival started in 2015 to fill a programming void. Until Chicago master puppeteer Blair Thomas founded the event, there was not a major, international puppet festival being held in the United States. The event was a success by any measurement. A reported 14,000 people attended 83 different festival events presented by 50 different artists.
“For our second biannual outing, I’m proud to say we’ve grown from 12 to 24 presenting partners who are uniting to ignite the spirit of this citywide event by presenting contemporary puppetry unlike anything you have ever seen before. We’ve expanded and diversified the number of international artists coming to Chicago, increased the number of performances, deepened our behind-the-scenes engagement opportunities for practicing puppet artists, created our first free Festival Neighborhood Tour and launched our first shared online box office.”
This year’s festival includes activities such as public performances, free workshops lead by visiting artists from around the globe, family drop-in events, late night Puppet Slams and presentations on puppetry history. International artists from Canada, Holland, South Korea, France, Chile and Italy join US-based artists from Maryland, New York, Michigan and Minnesota. Chicago is well-represented as well.
The 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival boasts 24 presenting partners, 22 venues, more than 25 artists from seven countries presenting 20 different shows and more than 90 total performances. The schedule is too lengthy to list here, so be sure to visit www.ChicagoPuppetFest.org for the full schedule.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of the Chicago Puppet Festival. Caption: Chicago master puppeteer Blair Thomas is Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.
Category: Shari's Corner