Center for Puppetry Arts unveils 2016-17 season

Center for Puppetry Arts unveils 2016-17 season

Atlanta’s premier puppetry arts organization presents all-new production of “Pete the Cat;” favorites “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Ghastly Dreadfuls” return, plus more fun!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 — Building on the continued excitement and energy around the new Worlds of Puppetry Museum which opened in November, the Center for Puppetry Arts® announces its 2016-2017 season. The Center will feature new stage productions as well as family favorites and notable guest artists. New educational programming, expanded museum offerings and special events round out a season that promises something for everyone who loves the art of puppetry! 

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 


Fundraising 101

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


Marionette Manipulation

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



Puppet Camp

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. 

Mighty Bug - Photo by Madalina Anton
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Photo by Clay Walkre
The Ghastly Dreadfuls - Photo courtesy of Center for Puppetry Arts
The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Photo courtesy of Thistle Theatre
Chelsea Bohannon Brave Public Relations