Puppet Lab

The Puppet Lab program will now continue independently of HOBT. During this period of organizational transition, HOBT is not able to continue hosting this program, but the important work will continue under the same program leadership.

Alison Heimstead, Creator and Director of the Puppet Lab Program, will continue to lead Puppet Lab as an independent program separate from HOBT. HOBT sees the importance of Alison's work through Puppet Lab, and supports her in this transition. The 2019-2020 season of Puppet Lab will culminate in performances at Open Eye Figure Theatre in January 2020. If you are interested please watch their website for more details - http://www.openeyetheatre.org

Though Puppet Lab is no longer a program of HOBT, we are deeply committed to continuing to use the art of puppet and mask performance for the common good. We continue to work in community-based residencies where through the exploration of sculpture, visual art, movement, expression, music, and storytelling, participants gain a deeper understanding of empathy, collaboration, and content. For more information on HOBT’s work in the community email HOBT General Manager Naomi Campion at [email protected]

Throughout the summer we have engaged one on one and with groups of artists to imagine and discern a future MayDay that is resilient, equitable, and decentralized. We look forward to sharing more about this process at our Public Meeting September 11th, 6pm - 8:30pm at HOBT.

HOBT will continue to support artists through their ongoing artistic development and work with communities to design and deliver impactful puppetry experiences. If you have any questions, please feel free to be in touch with HOBT Executive Director Corrie Zoll at [email protected].

011119hobt123 (2)
Image Description: A black and white photo of an artist sitting in front of a shadow puppetry screen.

Puppet Lab 2018-2019

Puppet Lab creates space for emerging puppet and mask theater artists to advance their artistic development – to test and create new works within a supportive and challenging workshop environment.

Performed March 22-24th

Recommended for ages 13+

** ASL: Sunday, March 24, 2:30 PM **

Headshot Image

Andrew Young is a Taiwanese-Indonesian-American visual and performance artist interested in the natural world, our inner lives, ancestry, and the ways we connect with each other. An emerging puppeteer, Andrew is excited to continue to explore the possibilities of shadow puppets, as well as masks, giant puppets, and ways different forms of puppetry can be combined.

Growing up as a minority there are a lot of things you keep to yourself; questions only looked at within the shadows of yourself. Through shadow puppetry, live performance, storytelling, and sound, The Alluvial explores questions of place, belonging, and the shifting nature of memory --  a meditation on family, migration, and identity, to bring the things passed down to us into the light.

Content warning: Gun violence, depression, suicidal ideation

Headshot (2)

Kallie Melvin is an emerging puppeteer and theater maker. She was adopted from Kolkata, India and grew up in the Twin Cities.

What is “Home“? Using a combination of original music, paper shadow puppets, photography, and live action performance, Not here, Not there follows the journey of an international adoptee. Through an exploration of grief and loss, family, memories, and more, a new definition of home emerges through a world of shadows.

As always, we encourage you to walk/bike/bus/ride share and if you do plan to drive, be sure to give yourself extra time to find parking due to the Winter Parking rules in effect (parking on the ODD side of the street only).

Performed March 15-17th

Recommended for ages 13+

** ASL: Sunday, March 17, 2:30 PM **

Headshot (1)

Tara Fahey is an artist, teacher, and performer. Growing throughout the past twelve years with Barebones Productions, as a section designer of lantern and dimensional puppets and strengthened through camaraderie and collective work with Chicks on Sticks, a Mpls.based women’s stilt troupe, there is a spark to explore through independent work.


Devotion is an immersive puppet epic bringing us into Rachel Carson's early life. Experience the outpouring of Rachel’s devotion to the ocean, witness the struggles and successes that defined her life, and be transformed by the impact of her work, still reverberating in our world today.  

Content Warning: War references


Akiko is a multidisciplinary artist: dancer, poet, collage artist, curator, and activist whose work directly reflects her experience as an immigrant woman of color, with an emphasis on community engagement and social justice. With a passion for art rooted in community, she is involved yearly in the creation of Barebones Halloween Extravaganza, MayDay Parade, and Northern Spark.

A for Akiko, Asian, Alien, Atomic bombs, American Dream, Away from home, At home. Weaving together shadow puppet, progressive collage, poetry, and dance, A explores white supremacy and white fear from an immigrant point of view.


Content warning: Strong language and violence


What is Puppet Lab?

Puppet Lab is a developmental laboratory for artists working within the medium of puppetry. Four artists or collaborative teams will be selected on the basis of a proposed project that will be work-shopped from mid-August 2018 through February 2019. The Puppet Lab program culminates in a public performance at In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (HOBT) in March 2019.

Puppet Lab establishes a formalized process for emerging puppet and mask theater artists to advance their artistic development – to test and create new works within a supportive and challenging workshop environment. This program gives artists the time and space to test ideas, learn from others, and receive and respond to critical feedback.

We are interested in pushing the boundaries of what we collectively consider to be “puppet theater”. We are curious and stimulated by exploratory, experimental, and innovative performance. We are interested in ideas that work within traditional forms as well as projects that are new in every way.

We treasure supporting artists who have worked with puppets as well as artists of other disciplines who are interested in delving into a new art form: shadow puppetry, hand puppets, masks, found objects, automatons, any and all sized spectacles, rod puppets, bunraku, miniature installation, marionettes, ventriloquism, integrated media, cantastoria, toy theater, animated projections or new inventions of any of these ancient forms. We look deeply into how stories (ideas, concept or content) are shared through the means of puppetry.

This program is made possible by generous support from the Jerome Foundation.

Jerome Fdn Standard