Mainstage Productions

Each year we produce original, company-generated plays for both families and adults. Using visual, musical and movement narratives, in addition to words, HOBT translates complex issues of mind and society into images that breathe with soul and spirit.

Recent HOBT Mainstage Productions


There’s Nothing to Tell

A full length work by Annie Rollins for the shadow theatre that mixes traditional Chinese and North American styles to present the story of a Grandfather shadow puppeteer in China’s dying dynastic period through the Communist Revolution and into the modern era.

As his only Granddaughter recounts his life story in shadow, questions arise of our place on the human continuum and the inheritance of story.

This production is traditionally presented in-the-round. Be prepared to move or stand throughout the performance.

PuppetLab – Lepus Nacht. A Night in the Warren. Benjamin Brockman

A glimpse into a postapocalyptic landscape, in which the Lepus play and investigate with unending curiosity and vitality – and discover, that like us, they must remain reverent and obedient to a mysterious natural order. Cartooon. Steve Ackerman: A case study of the controversial 1940s animated program “Tummy da Talking Turtle Sucks on Piano Keys” and the causality of a co-dependent relationship between a reptile and a quickly descending anvil.

PuppetLab – I have filthy habits. Eben Kowler

Two siblings and an explorer cross paths in a terrarium. Weather patterns and behavior trends emerge, as three performers follow their habits into unknown and unstable territories. Five Rules for Walking. Rosie Jablonsky: Hildegard lives in a world made entirely out of trash. Everything she has is the detritus of generations before, and her slippery memories are now the complete history of the world.

Kid Enkidu. Co-produced by Bart Buch and HOBT – Directed by Bart Buch.

A puppet-poem-mashup inspired by The Little Prince, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the anime films of Miyazaki, kid enkidu follows the journey of a mysterious kid hunting for a lost companion. Enkidu searches between veils of the worlds, deciphering love poem patterns of nature to unlock the imagination, unfold the heart, free the spirit, and find the beloved. This re-creation myth explores the spirit-bridge connecting human imagination and the natural world using puppets, animated poetry, projections and live acoustic-electronica music, composed by Tom Woodling and Martin Dosh.


December 27-29: Shota and the Star Quilt. Performed by Julie Boada and Esther Ouray. Weaving together traditional folktale values with modern concerns for the urban environment and green issues.

December 13-22: La Natividad. La Natividad brings the Christmas story into this time and the complexity of our immediate neighborhood.

November 7-18: 2012: The Musical. In the Heart of the Beast partnered with New Native Theater and Bedlam Theater for this debut performance,a romp through the end of the world as we know it. Inspired by the hoopla of the end of the Mayan calendar, the NNT Actor Ensemble’s hilarious new play is about the year 2012 from a Native American perspective right from our own Franklin Avenue.

October 18-28: Hidebound. The Hidebound project is one of seventeen plays from the Soulographie series written by Erik Ehn. Directed by Alison Heimstead. For more on the entire series, see

PuppetLab: March 9-11: Reed Ellis Aubin: The Pollen Road. A talking plant detoxes and journeys to find roots and a vanishing language, while a farmer loses ground. Check out the video trailer!

PuppetLab: March 9-11: Daniel Polnau: meet me in the heart caves. An imaginative dreamlike visual poem spelunking the forbidden cockles of the heart.

PuppetLab: March 2-4: Mary Parker and Marg Rozycki: Melting. Evangeline and Angela grapple with how the world transforms. They examine questions of stress, sacrifice, relationship to the world at large, and love. The entire show is grounded in the eternal cycle of life and death.

PuppetLab: March 2-4: Matt Larson and Hannah Rivenburgh: Ain’t Heard Tell. With themes of the travel of history and transmission of culture, of hardship, resilience and the humor that results, this crude and careful show integrates live traditional music, dance, and storytelling into puppetry. Created in collaboration with Director Masanari Kawahara and fellow performer Rina Rossi.

February 18-26: Z Puppets Rosenschnoz: Monkey Mind Pirates. The world’s only puppet rock yoga opera for families in search of calm. The epic tale of a sea captain discovering the secrets to taming the stormy seas of stress.

February 11-12: Blair Thomas: Hard Headed Heart. High art meets low when the words of early 20th Century poets are given voice in this cabaret of wooden puppets, rolling paper scrolls and bass drums. The performances are based on the writings of Federico Garcia Lorca and Wallace Stevens as well as a traditional New Orleans blues song.

February 11: For the Love of Puppets Cabaret. For the Love of Puppets, a cabaret of puppet shows by the Twin Cities puppet community, with food, drinks & live music!

January 20–28: Strombolli’s Medicine Show. New and improved! And guaranteed to raise gooseflesh and inflame the senses! This unique variety show is not for the weak-hearted.

January 14: Mild Light: An Evening of Cantastoria. Historical, Lyrical, and Pathetical examples of the ancient and post-modern art of picture-story recitation, presented by Clare Dolan, Chief Operating Philosopher of the Museum of Everyday Life in Vermont.

December, 2011: Winter Dreams – Underneath blankets of snow, the animals slumber all winter – snoring and dreaming under the vast skies. The dreams of winter’s secret sleepers, and the music of the wide mysterious skies. Directed by Alison Heimstead

February, 2011: PuppetLab – Featuring new puppet shows from Bart Buch and Blake Love, Soozin Hirschmugl, Angela Olson, Janaki Ranpura

December, 2010: La Befana

December, 2009: La Natividad

November, 2009: A Path Home: A Story of Thich Nhat Hanh

October 2009: Double Feature: Janaki Ranpura: Lovesick Sea Play & Bart Buch: Ode to Walt Whitman

January 2009: Z Puppets Rosenschnoz: The Puggles – A Platypus Adventure

February 2009: Kurt Hunter: Sock Puppet Serenade

February 2009: For the Love of Puppets Cabaret