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Jan 12, 2015 >> We’re handing it to the Chicago Puppet Fest

G&F BLOG_Chicago International Puppet Festival

Say hello to Chicago’s newest cultural festival—Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. The 10-day fest will showcase a captivating and eclectic lineup of puppet styles from around the world including marionettes, shadow puppets and other innovative styles of contemporary puppetry. Our favorite venues around the city will converge to present the inaugural fest, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum and Chicago History Museum. Follow along as we channel our inner Jim Hensen and give all you puppet newbies our top show picks for the fest.

We couldn’t resist trying our hand at the great art of puppetry! We’re learning puppet manipulation 101 with the co-curators of the Nasty, Brutish, and Short puppet cabaret, a mini-fest within the fest featuring works that mash up classic stories into dark & twisty, humorous, tender and everything in between.



Chances are you won’t have time to see all the puppets on all the stages during the Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival, but if you’re new to the puppet world, we’re giving you the best shows to clear your schedule for (or at least the ones we think might be cool). Ticket prices vary. Click through to each performance to learn more:

Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych
Free Street Theater | 1419 W Blackhawk Street
Wednesday, January 14th + Thursday, January 15th | 6pm

Why we can’t wait: It’s a full court press of art forms in this showcase. Featuring tabletop and shadow puppets, original music and stop-motion film, Mariposa Nocturna might just be our new creative muse. 

Rich in Tradition
Field Museum | 1400 S Lake Shore Drive

Saturday, January 17th | 3pm

Why we can’t wait: Chinese Theatre Works’ work is astounding. And we’ve only seen pictures. The ornate + detailed shadow puppets are centuries old.

Drunken Half-Angel
Links Hall | 3111 N Western Avenue
Tuesday, January 20th + Friday, January 23rd | 7:30pm

Why we can’t wait: Mike Oleon, co-curator of the Nasty, Brutish and Short series, gushed about puppeteer Michael Montenegro’s work. If he’s gushing, then we’re going.

Logan Center for the Arts | 915 E 60th Street
Friday, January 23rd | 9pm + Saturday, January 24th | 7pm

Why we can’t wait: Billed as “A live-action three-dimensional cartoon.” That’s why.

The Joshua Show
Links Hall | 3111 N Western Avenue
Saturday, January 24th | 1pm

Why we can’t wait: Part-vaudeville, part-talk show, Joshua Holden makes magic (and a whole lot of smiles) with his unique and larger-than-life variety show.

The International Puppet Slam
Links Hall | 3111 N Western Avenue
Saturday, January 24th | 10:30pm

Why we can’t wait: This closer of the Nasty, Brutish and Short fest features new works from the pro’s and the atmosphere will be electric. Plus, you can grab a beer, too. Booze and puppets? Sign us up.

For more information and tickets, visit