Center for Puppetry Arts Announces 2022-2023 Season Programming

Fan favorites, a world premiere and more Museum events than ever!

ATLANTA (May 3, 2022) – The Center for Puppetry Arts is excited to announce its 2022-2023 season, with a full schedule of museum, onstage and online programs, and several new museum programs and events. The season kicks off with a new Museum exhibition series focused on contemporary artists of color called Puppetry NOW, a brand new Puppet Discovery Camp for 8 and 9 year olds, and a reimagined Online Puppetry Playdate using a variety-show interactive format.

Puppetry NOW launches in June with an exhibition by Tarish Pipkins, known as Jeghetto, a self-taught multi-media artist with roots in music who has performed puppetry arts in video including with Missy Elliott. For the exhibition, Jeghetto takes over the Center’s Dean DuBose Smith Special Exhibition Gallery to transport visitors to the Afrofuturist world of 5P1N0K10 (pronounced Spinokio).  The gallery will feature interactive large-scale puppetry installations and backstories of characters that come to life in Jeghetto’s 5P1N0K10  – A HIP HOPERA stage production, presented as part of the Center’s New Directions Series from June 23-26. Created by Jeghetto and co-written with Pierce Freelon, 5P1N0K10, the stage version, is a post-apocalyptic Afrofuturistic puppet show, which features an original score by Hip Hop producer Hir-O.Hoper.

Museum: Festive & Wild

Other upcoming special Museum exhibitions include Festive Features (Nov 15 – Jan 8, 2023), filling the Center with holiday cheer during the run of our popular Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ production. The exhibition is an exploration into the puppetry and history behind some recognizable and lesser-known characters from holiday film and TV specials. In 2023, we look forward to an exhibition that showcases puppets from the 2009 Spike Jonze production of  Where the Wild Things Are, based on the popular book of the same name written by Maurice Sendak.

We are excited to create new opportunities for patrons to engage with our museum collection throughout the season. New museum acquisitions, works from active puppeteers and artists, Center-made puppets and bite-size pieces of puppet history will be on display in the Center’s atrium, including It’s a Big, Big World (June 7-August 14), Contemporary Spotlight on Raymond Carr (Aug. 23-Oct. 30) and more.  Our new regular museum events Sketchbook Saturdays, for artists of all ages, and Puppet Runway Shows, continue as a way for patrons to bring their creativity to life in our museum space.

On Stage: An Electric Showdown!

The Center’s stages will be busier than ever this season with 14 productions for children and adults, including the world premiere of Tesla vs. Edison (Feb. 22-March 12, 2023). This new work, by Center Puppet Designer and Director Jason Hines, is based on the life and work of two legendary inventors with very different visions of the future.

In addition to new work, the Center will present beloved classics, some with a twist, such as the award-winning The Little Pirate Mermaid (June 29-Aug. 7, 2022), based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the same name. The season ends with the literary classic Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (April 4-May 21, 2023). Adapted for puppetry by Joseph Robinette, everyone’s favorite spelling spider and loveable pig are back with an enduring tale of friendship.

The Theater for the Very Young presents The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables (Aug. 10-Sept. 18, 2022), a theatrical kaleidoscope that uses puppetry, circus skills and original music to present some of Aesop’s most famous fables for children 2 years old and up.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, the Center presents bilingual performances of La Cucarachita Martina (Martina, the Little Roach), Sept. 22-Oct. 2, 2022, by Teatro SEA of New York, NY, and Animal Amigos (Oct. 6-16, 2022), by Mesner Puppet Theater of Kansas City, MO.  La Cucarachita Martina is a Latin rock-n-roll musical based on a popular tale of a little roach and the lessons she learns on her journey to find true love. Animal Amigos invites all to gather around the Tree of Life for retellings of delightful Mexican folktales with hilarious characters including the little half chicken, Medio Polito, the trickster Rabbit and the hungry Coyote. Our patrons will enjoy celebrations of Hispanic heritage across the Center throughout the run of these two productions.  For the holidays, join us for fan-favorite productions of the Halloween cult classic The Ghastly Dreadfuls (October 12-29, 2022) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ (Nov. 9-Dec. 31, 2022.).

In February 2023, the award-winning Duke Ellington’s Cat returns to the stage. On the road with jazz great Duke Ellington is one cool cat who has been by his side from Duke’s early days in pool halls to his experiences performing for the crowned heads of Europe in concert halls. Sometimes this feisty feline even sits in with the band. Written and directed by Jon Ludwig, it is a lyrical look at the life and times of one of America’s musical giants whose career that spanned from the Roaring Twenties through the Civil Rights Movement.

Other shows this season include Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (June 17-19, 2022)by Axis Theater of Vancouver BC, Canada; How to Snag A Sea Monster (Oct. 20-23, 2022), by Mesner Puppet Theater of Kansas City, MO; The Dragon King by Tanglewood Marionettes of Ware, MA (Jan. 5-22, 2023); and Penguin in My Pocket by Kurt Hunter of Minneapolis, MN (March 16-April 2, 2023).  The final adult performances of the season take place May 3-7, 2023 with XPT, Xperimental Puppetry Theater, which continues its 39-year tradition of presenting bold, original works in adult puppetry from artists across all disciplines.

Educational Entertainment

The 2022-2023 season will bring back a full complement of educational programming, including Explore Puppetry Series, workshops for ages 18 and older.

The Junior Explorer Series kicks off with Puppet Theatre Camp (June 6-10, 2022). Children ages 10 to 12 are invited to participate in an immersive, weeklong adventure to design, build, write for and perform with their own puppets. Brand new this year: Puppet Discovery Camp (July 11-15) for ages 8 and 9 years old.  Students go on a weeklong exploration of a wide variety puppetry styles and cultural traditions. They also take a specialized guided tour of the Center and its Museum exhibitions. In addition, the young puppeteers will see live puppetry from experienced puppet professionals and guest artists. 

Playdates Online

The Center’s online platform, Digital Learning, continues to expand its programming to include families and individuals. Zoom in to the Center on the second Saturday of each month to participate in an Online Puppet Playdate with Mr. Jeffrey.  Each playdate is live, interactive and available to anyone anywhere with an internet connection; each month expect a new mix of puppet skits, music, arts and crafts, and special guests. In the coming season, our Online Puppetry Playdates will be free for all Members of the Center.

Puppetry for All

This season, the Center is extremely proud to expand its commitment to accessibility with a new initiative called Puppetry for All!  This new program will include American Sign Language Interpreted Performances and Audio-Described Performances.

The popular Sensory-Friendly Sundays provides sensory-friendly programming for guests with sensory sensitivities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental differences. Guests can experience the Center in a comfortable, judgment-free setting supported by trained and experienced staff members. Select Family Series productions include adjustments to the performance, the Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ and the Worlds of Puppetry Museum. More information may be found on the website.

The Center’s Family Series ticket includes admission to the performance, admission to Worlds of Puppetry Museum and entry into the Create-A-Puppet Workshop™.  In the workshop, guests are invited to build, decorate and perform with their own puppet on the Center’s classroom stage. The puppets are based on the characters and style of puppetry in each production.

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