What We Do
Start with Water, flour, newspaper, paint. Add a large measure of IMAGINATION and a dollop of ARTISTRY to make STORIES about our world come ALIVE through PUPPETS. This is in the Heart of the Beast’s nearly 50 year-old puppet recipe.
Since 1973, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre has helped to create and cultivate the puppetry community in the Twin Cities. We are a world-renowned theater recognized for our large scale puppets and political activism. We have brought some of the most talented puppeteers to Minneapolis while maintaining a strong connection to the local puppet community.
In the HEART of the BEAST (HOBT) is a community of artists working within our larger community to create magic together. We make puppets large and small—monstrous, beautiful, silly, human, plant, animal, you name it. We use gesture, voice, form, and color, giving life to puppets that help tell stories to represent the world as it is and as we dream it could be.
Puppetry is the art of breathing life into an inanimate object. Puppetry’s power lies in this act of transformation. We find that theater brings people together. It builds community. It is with great respect and awe that we see the power and joy of this ancient art flourish in unsuspecting ways and places. The art of puppetry is largely descended from BIPOC ancestral communities.
About Our Name
Our original name was Powderhorn Puppet Theatre in honor of the neighborhood in which our theatre is located, Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis. In 1979, company member and poet Steven Linsner suggested the name “In the Heart of the Beast” as a metaphor for our theater. He wrote,
To be puppeteers in the Heart of the Beast…
"is to find ourselves in the great world Beast made of families, races, ages, sexes, classes, corporations and nations, people, (and creatures!) all different, working out a way to live together...
is to work puppets. To hold life in our hands, to sense how we are all like puppets—worked by instincts, voices, and forces above us and below us...
is to carry and protect something very old like a heart within us, a secret, a promise. Like carrying a flickering candle through a dark place. Like carrying a family in a horse-drawn wagon...
is to travel the roads of history and loss, in search of something like a new heart: new communities, new families, new work, new holidays...
is to tell the story of people who live in the heart of the beast—as courageous and resourceful as they really are..."
Our Annual Report
Image Descriptions: Three photos. The first shows performers and puppeteers in a chase scene in the Impact Theory of Mass Extinction by Junauda Petrus-Nasah, photo by Uche Iroegbu. The second photo shows three kids playing in a fountain with a colorful puppet crafted by Gustavo Boada outside of the MN Orchestra. The third photo features a turtle puppet on a bicycle by Gustavo Boada, riding around the MayDay Festival, photo by Spencer Joles.
Since 1973, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre has helped to create and cultivate the puppetry community in the Twin Cities. We are a world-renowned theater recognized for our large scale puppets and political activism. For almost 50 years, we have brought some of the most talented puppeteers to Minneapolis while maintaining a strong connection to the local puppet community. In 2022, we embarked on a strategic planning process. We honor what we have accomplished and are we excited to carry the work forward.
Click Below to view our Fiscal Year 2022 annual report and learn what we are planning for the future