Highlights of the 2016-2017 Family Series include the brand-new puppet production of Pete the Cat, adapted from the widely popular and imaginative book series by Atlanta artist James Dean. Inspired by Dean’s real-life cat, Pete pounces from the page to the stage as his laid-back, easy-going spirit takes him and his fine friends on a host of groovy adventures including surfing, skateboarding and playing guitar. Pete goes with the flow, and his positive outlook carries him through whatever obstacles come his way. Also debuting is an original production for children ages 2 and older, Old MacDonald’s Farm. This Theatre for the Very Young production is a barnyard bonanza of fun and furry animals. Soaring back to the Center’s Mainstage for its seventh consecutive holiday season is the Center’s own beloved adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Talented touring artists are also a big part of this season’s Family Series. Hopping back to Atlanta in celebration of author Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday is Thistle Theatre’s Tales of Peter Rabbit. Other touring companies visiting this season include Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers with The Headless Horseman of (Sleepy) Silly Hollow and Teatro SEA with their bilingual adaptation of the popular Cuban and Puerto Rican fable La Cucarachita Martina (Martina the Little Roach).
The Center’s New Directions Series for adults and teens continues to expand the perception and expectations of puppet theater for older audiences. NDS opens with National Puppet Slam 2016, an evening of curated, short-form puppetry pieces showcasing the excellence and variety of puppetry by artists from all around the country. Back by popular demand, Atlanta’s favorite band of specters, The Ghastly Dreadfuls, returns from the grave to celebrate Halloween with a ghostly jamboree fit for the living and the dead. Then, Simpich Marionettes of Colorado Springs returns to the Center with Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist, performed with hand-crafted marionettes and David Simpich’s signature vocal prowess. Rounding out the New Directions Series is the Center’s annual Xperimental Puppetry Theater, bringing together artists from all disciplines to create bold, innovative new works in puppetry for adult audiences.
The ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) initiative allows guests with ASD to experience the Center in a comfortable and safe setting, supported by staff members who have been trained in interactions with patrons with ASD. The Center’s ASD initiative will feature seven sensory-friendly Family Series performances with their accompanying Create-A-Puppet Workshops sensory-adjusted as well. Museum exhibits and a film will also be adapted for ASD audiences as a part of this initiative.
Robust and diverse educational programming will be a highlight of the 2016-2017 Center season. Create-A-Puppet Workshops offer visitors the opportunity to build and decorate a puppet that is inspired by the style of puppetry or characters from the Family Series production being presented. The Explore Puppetry Series offers adults almost a dozen professional development workshops in everything from Puppetry 101: A Performance Primer to When Once Is Not Enough: Molding & Casting Duplicates. There’s also the brand-new Junior Explorers Series, offering workshops for kids ages 9-12, and anchored by the ever-popular Puppet Camp. The Center’s award-winning Distance Learning program provides live, interactive videoconference programs and other recorded content allowing school groups and puppet lovers across the globe to experience the fun of the Center from any location.
The Worlds of Puppetry Museum opened in November 2015 with the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts, as well as puppets from around the world. Since the completion of the museum expansion, a whole series of programming is being enhanced, expanded or developed specifically for the Museum. Ongoing programming includes Tale Time Thursdays and daily tours for families, while specialty themed evenings such as Henson Trivia Night and Valentine’s at the Center are geared toward adults. The museum’s Film Series continues its mission to showcase puppets on the big screen with such favorites as Babe the Gallant Pig and Being John Malkovich (among many). New figures will rotate into the Worlds of Puppetry Museum in early June. The Center’s wide variety of programming allows patrons to connect with puppetry and experience puppetry in a way that is most enjoyable and suitable for them!
The 2016-2017 Family Series: (Recommended for Ages 4+ except where noted)
The Swan (Ages 3+) May 24 – June 5, 2016
By Théâtre de Deux Mains of Montréal, Québec, Canada
The Little Pirate Mermaid June 7 – July 17, 2016
Adapted by Jon Ludwig
Sleeping Beauty July 19- 31, 2016
By National Marionette Theatre of Erie, Pa.
Old MacDonald’s Farm (Ages 2+) August 2 – September 11, 2016
Adapted by Amy Sweeney
Tales of Peter Rabbit September 14-25, 2016
By Thistle Theatre of Seattle, Wash.
La Cucarachita Martina (Martina the Little Roach) September 28 – October 9, 2016
By Teatro SEA of New York, N.Y.
The Jungle Book: The Story of Mowgli’s Fire October 12 – 23, 2016
By Frisch Marionettes of Cincinnati, Ohio
The Headless Horseman of (Sleepy) Silly Hollow October 25, 2015 – November 6, 2016
By Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers of Bar Harbor, Maine
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer November 8 – December 31, 2016
Adapted by Jon Ludwig
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf January 3-22, 2017
By Mesner Puppet Theater of Kansas City, Mo.
The Adventures of Mighty Bug January 24– March 12, 2017
Adapted by Jon Ludwig
The Dragon King March 14 – April 2, 2017
By Tanglewood Marionettes of Ware, Mass.
Pete the Cat April 4 – May 21, 2017
Based on the book series by James Dean
Adapted by Jon Ludwig
The 2016-2017 New Directions Series for Adults & Teens:
National Puppet Slam (Ages 18+) September 2-4, 2016
The Ghastly Dreadfuls (Ages 18+) October 12-29, 2016
By Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines
Oliver Twist (Ages 12+) February 28-March 5, 2017
By Simpich Marionettes of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Xperimental Puppetry Theater (XPT) (Ages 18+) May 11 – 14, 2017
By Various Artists
2016-2017 Explore Puppetry Workshops
Personality Type in the Puppetry World
Presented by Sadie Young, M.Ed., MBTI - Myers-Brigs Type Indicator
June 13-17, 2016
Puppetry = Breath, Movement, Dance:
Building Confident Performers through Kinesthetic Concepts
Presented by Lyric Cosby Jackson Dance Project
Monday, Aug. 29 | Tuedsday, Aug. 30 | Wednesday, Aug 31.
Costuming: Puppets, Muppets & Mascots
Presented by Bonnie Erickson, Jim Henson Legacy
Harrison/Ericson, Inc. & Acme Puppets
Sept. 26, 2016
Snip Stitch Floor Focus:
Puppet Creation and Performance for Television
Presented by Bob’s Your Uncle Productions
Sunday, Nov. 6 | Monday, Nov. 7 | Sunday, Nov. 13 | Monday, Nov. 14
Presented by C4 Atlanta
Monday, Dec. 12, 2016
Puppetry 101: A Performance Primer
Presented by Aretta Baumgartner
Monday, Jan. 9, 2017
When Once is Not Enough: Molding & Casting Duplicates Presented by The Engineer Guy
Monday, March 6, 2017
Presented by Tanglewood Marionettes
Monday, March 27, 2017
The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy:
How to Perform Shadow Puppet Improv
Presented by Sea Beast Puppet Company
Monday, April 24, 2017
A Day in the Life of Puppet Film
Presented by Ninja Puppet Productions
Mon, May 22, 2017
2016-2017 JUNIOR EXPLORERS SERIES
Presented by Center for Puppetry Arts Education Department
Monday-Friday, June 13-17, 2016
A World of Puppets
Presented by Jeff Domke and Damon Young, Center for Puppetry Arts Education Department
Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016
Create a Cardboard Puppet Pal
Presented by Lee Bryan, That Puppet Guy
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017
2016-2017 Museum Film Series
Babe the Gallant Pig
Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 7 p.m.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller and Farscape
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 - 8 p.m.
Jason and the Argonauts
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016 - 7 p.m.
Muppet Treasure Island
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 - 7 p.m.
Team America: World Police
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 - 8 p.m.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird
Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 7 p.m.
Being John Malkovich
Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 8 p.m.
The best way to experience the Center is by becoming a Member! Members enjoy benefits like discounts on tickets to performances, free admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, free films and priority seating. For more information, visit WWW.PUPPETJOIN.COM or call the membership office at 404-881-5151.
Ticket prices vary for performances and other programs. See prices at WWW.PUPPET.ORG or call 404-873-3391.