Puppeteers from Mexico, Indonesia, Africa, Europe and beyond will descend upon the city during the 6th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, which runs from Jan. 18-28.
The “pageant of puppet shows” is set to unfold at dozens of venues across the city in what event organizers say is the largest annual puppet festival of its kind in the North America, reaching an audience of about 14,000 each year. Many of the shows are free to the public.
The artists combine traditional and contemporary puppetry techniques with live music and dances, transporting “the audience to another world where puppets come alive and become one with the audience.”
Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
When: Jan. 18 – 28
Where: various locations across the city
Tickets: Free to $45
Performers include Krystal Puppeteers, a Kenyan-German company that began performing in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, in 1995.
Other performers include: Animal R.I.O.T. (Animal Resurgence In Our Time). On its website, the group describes itself as an organization that wants “to preserve and protect the remaining wild places and the not so wild places on earth, so that animals can continue to exist.” Masked members of the group include “the Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Lady Opossum” and “Dr. Yellowfish.”
Papermoon Puppet Theatre, founded in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2006, “believes that anything can come alive. Every creature, every object, every single thing in the world holds life somewhere inside of it.”
The festival was founded in 2015, with the goal of promoting peace, equality and justice on a global scale, the event organizers say.
This year’s festival will attract puppet artists “who will share more than 100 puppetry activities, including all-ages spectacle shows, intimate works on small stages, even an adults-only, late-night puppet cabaret,” according to the festival announcement.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit chicagopuppetfest.org.