Center for Puppetry Arts Blog

Things to Do in January 2017 at the Center for Puppetry Arts

December 28, 2016 11:20

Happy New Year! We’ve got some exciting things planned for 2017, and we can’t wait to have you join us. Here’s a look at what’s coming up this January:

On stage Jan. 3-22 (no shows Jan. 10 or Jan. 17): The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf. You think you know the story of the Three Little Pigs, but it’s time you hear it from the wolf’s perspective. He wasn’t trying to hurt the pigs; he just needed to borrow a cup of sugar and he had a cold! See his story presented by Mesner Puppet Theater on our Downstairs Stage, and then decide who you believe. The show features rod, shadow and mask puppetry, and you’ll make an A. Wolf Hand Puppet in the Create-A-Puppet Workshop.

True Story of the Three Little Pigs

On stage beginning Jan. 24 (reduced-price previews Jan. 24 & 25): The Adventures of Mighty Bug. Scorpiana is on the loose and threatening the insect citizens of Bugville! Is our hero Mighty Bug up to the challenge? This action-packed, science-filled adventure takes you on a comic book-style adventure as Mighty Bug saves the day. This show features shadow, body and black light puppetry, and you’ll make a Lightning Bug Rod and String Puppet in the Create-A-Puppet Workshop.

The Adventures of Mighty Bug

In the Worlds of Puppetry Museum all month: Guided tours of the museum take place Tuesday-Friday at 1 pm, Saturday at 11 am. Guided tours of the Jim Henson Collection take place Tuesday-Friday at 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm.

Tale Time Thursday takes place every Thursday at 2 pm in the museum and is included with museum admission. January's readings are as follows:

  • 1/5: The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend by Aaron Shepard
  • 1/12: Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • 1/19: Tree of Life by Barbara Bash
  • 1/26: Clatter Bash by Richard Keep

Jan. 5: Happy National Bird Day! Come take a selfie with one of our favorite birds, Big Bird.

Big Bird

Jan. 9: Puppetry 101: A Performance Primer. Puppets have been used to tell stories since theatre began, and can be found everywhere from stage to screen. Puppetry celebrates all aspects of the arts and is a “must-have” skill on every resume! Dig into actor-to-puppeteer transformation exercises, explore the hands-on vocabulary for all puppets, and have a blast in a puppet skills boot camp!

Jan. 11: Volunteer Orientation, 2 pm.

Jan. 20: Want a chance to perform at the Center for Puppetry Arts? Applications for the 2017 Xperimental Puppetry Theater are due Jan. 20! XPT offers artists the opportunity to create original short-form puppetry pieces for adult audiences. Proposed pieces must be under ten minutes, and can be in any of the myriad styles of puppetry: shadows, masks, automata, object theater, toy theater, hand puppets, rod puppets, body puppets, stop-motion and live puppet film, marionettes, etc. We also accept puppetry themed installation art for display in the bar area during the production. Application information here.

Jan. 21: Fulton County Free Museum Saturday. Fulton County residents, students and government employees receive free admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum on Fulton County Free Museum Saturday, or 25% off an all-inclusive ticket. Valid for walk-up purchases only. Must show valid ID. Download and complete the sheet here and bring it with you on Free Museum Saturday.

Worlds of Puppetry Museum

Jan. 22: Volunteer Orientation, 2 pm.

Jan. 28: It's Ernie's birthday! Happy birthday, Ernie!

Happy birthday, Ernie!

Jan. 28 & 29: Don’t miss our science and art activities during the opening weekend of The Adventures of Mighty Bug! First up, enjoy a visit from the UGA Entomology Insect Zoo. The Insect Zoo is a hands-on program to educate about insects through terrariums and other displays. See Mighty Bug on stage, then see some mighty insects up close. The fun continues opening weekend when Savannah College of Art and Design’s SERVE volunteer organization comes to the Center to bring out the art of Mighty Bug. These artists will be filling the Center’s sidewalks with a comic book-style, sequential art piece, so you can check out some local art after seeing The Adventures of Mighty Bug!

UGA Insect Zoo

Things To Do in December 2016 at the Center for Puppetry Arts

November 30, 2016 11:39

The holiday season is in full swing, and we are feeling festive! Here’s everything you can enjoy at the Center for Puppetry Arts this month:

On stage all month: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This show is based on the 1964 television special, and has become an Atlanta holiday tradition. Tickets are selling quickly for the December performances, so don’t wait! Note: No shows on Dec. 25.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

In the Worlds of Puppetry Museum all month: Guided tours of the museum take place Tuesday-Friday at 1 pm, Saturday at 11 am. Guided tours of the Jim Henson Collection take place Tuesday-Friday at 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm.

Tale Time Thursday takes place every Thursday at 2 pm in the museum and is included with museum admission. On the schedule this month:

  • 12/1: Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas by Russell Hoban
  • 12/8: The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola
  • 12/15: A Christmas Tree in the White House by Gary Hines
  • 12/22: The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington

New in the Worlds of Puppetry Museum: We’ve just finished rotating items in both the Global and Jim Henson collections. Forty items have debuted in the Global Collection, including new puppets from India, Mali, Egypt, Turkey and Iran. In the Jim Henson Collection, we have 20 new pieces on display, including the Fazoobs from The Muppet Show, and new pieces from Fraggle Rock, Dog City and The Song of Cloud Forest. Finally, in the Atrium, you cannot miss our newest acquisition: Topthorn, from the National Theatre’s production of War Horse.

The Fazoobs

12/3: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” We’re so excited to walk in this year’s Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade! Our float will be easy to recognize—it looks just like our museum! Keep an eye out for some of your favorite puppets from our past shows. If you can’t be there in person, the parade will air live on WSB-TV Channel 2!

12/3: Are you interested in getting involved with the Center for Puppetry Arts? Volunteer Orientation takes place 3-4 pm on Dec. 3. Volunteer perks include free museum admission, complimentary show tickets, and the chance to make new friends and support an active arts organization.

12/3: We’ll be screening Muppet Treasure Island on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 pm. The museum will be open one hour before the movie, where you can see the movie’s Miss Piggy, Polly Lobster, Clueless Morgan and Mad Monty puppets. $10 nonmembers, FREE for Members.

Muppet Treasure Island

12/4: “C is for Cookie.” Dec. 4 is National Cookie Day! Come say hi to your favorite cookie fiend, Cookie Monster, in the museum today.

Cookie Monster

12/12: Audrey Gámez from C4 Atlanta will join us on Dec. 12 to present Fundraising 101, a three-hour workshop that teaches how to raise funds in support of the arts. The session will cover crowd funding, individual donations, grants, corporate donations and sponsorships, and much more.

Fundraising 101

12/25-26: Center for Puppetry Arts closed. Happy Holidays!

12/31: Last chance for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! The show’s final performances will be on New Year’s Eve.

Jim Henson's Impact on Television

November 17, 2016 14:46

On May 9, 1955, audiences in Washington, DC, were introduced to Harry the Hipster, Yorick, Professor Matcliffe and a light green lizard-like creature named Kermit. On this day, the five-minute television show Sam & Friends debuted, and 18-year-old Jim Henson’s television career was just beginning.

Jim Henson didn’t set out to be a puppeteer; instead, he had ambitions to work in television, and puppetry was his first step into the industry at age 16, when he responded to a casting call for puppeteers for a new local morning show. Fast forward to Sam & Friends and beyond, and it’s safe to say his programming was revolutionary, and his impact on the small screen is immeasurable. Read on for some highlights of Jim’s television career, all of which are documented in our Worlds of Puppetry Museum:

Sam & Friends: Sam & Friends was Jim Henson’s first television show and first long-running puppeteer job. It aired twice daily on WRC-TV, a Washington, DC-based NBC affiliate. The show was just five minutes long, but that was enough to captivate audiences during its six-year run. It won a number of awards—including Jim’s first Emmy—and introduced viewers to Kermit, who at that time was more lizard than frog.

Sam & Friends

Rowlf: Rowlf the piano-playing dog got his big break in a Purina Dog Chow commercial in 1962. While Sam & Friends was a hit locally, Rowlf was the first of Jim’s puppets to appear on network television when he regularly appeared as Jimmy Dean’s sidekick on The Jimmy Dean Show. He was so popular that he received more fan mail than the host!


Sesame Street: When she was developing Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney approached Jim Henson about joining the team for this groundbreaking educational program. She had a vision to engage children in education the way commercials sold products, and was inspired by Jim’s creative advertising work. The show premiered in November 1969 and has since aired in more than 120 countries. It is now among the longest-running television shows in the United States and has won more than 160 Emmy awards, more than any other children’s show.

Sesame Street

The Muppet Show: After Sesame Street's success, Jim created The Muppet Show to appeal to a broader primetime audience. The show was filmed, produced and broadcast in England, and it premiered in 1976. It eventually made its way into syndication in the United States, and it has become a globally iconic franchise. Fun fact: Miss Piggy wasn’t a main character in the beginning; her soaring popularity eventually brought her top billing. The Muppet Show had 120 episodes and it aired in 100 countries.

The Muppet Show

Fraggle Rock: In 1983, Henson’s work expanded to premium networks when Fraggle Rock debuted as HBO’s first original series. The character groups—Gorgs, Fraggles and Doozers—all worked together in a mutually beneficial society, and the show promoted ideas of tolerance, and cultural and ecological diversity. The show was internationally successful, airing in 90 countries and translated into 13 languages. It has the distinction of being the first American TV show to air in the Soviet Union. Fraggle Rock utilized new Chroma Key technology (the precursor to green screen), and was the very first film or TV series to do so. And, in case you missed the news, Fraggle Rock is set to return to HBO soon!

Fraggle Rock