MayDay

HOBT tree of lifeThe 40th Annual MayDay Parade and Festival: Sunday, May 4, 2014.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s annual MayDay Parade, Ceremony, and Festival has been a vibrant example of art as community building in the Twin Cities area for 39 years.

For many in Minnesota, the MayDay Parade is a time to celebrate the coming warmth with hand-built puppets and masks (some over 10 feet tall), music, and performance in the street. But the essence of the parade is rooted in the local community and contemporary issues, concerns, and visions for a better world.

When the community workshops begin the first Saturday of April, the theater’s main performance space is converted to a giant studio space. Throughout the month, everyone is invited to the 16 public workshops, and all who enter participate in the building of this communal story through the creation of puppets and masks.

By the time the parade unfolds on the first Sunday of May, more than 50,000 people from near and far fill the streets both as participants and spectators for this day of celebration and community.

MayDay 2013 Theme: See the World

The theme for the 39th Annual MayDay Parade and Festival was See the World. The story was inspired by a cantastoria called Hallelujah, created by the venerable Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont. 2013 is the 50th anniversary for that theater, one of the oldest puppet theaters in the country, and an inspiration for many puppeteers and artists of all stripes!

Hallelujah as imagined by the Bread and Puppet theater is a painfully honest and simple story about how our actions affect our beautiful world. If we care for the world, and let the sun shine on it, and water it, the crops will grow, and so will the children. If we put poison on the world, however, if we set fire to it, then nothing can survive. The power of the script lies in its simplicity, and its profound call to action.