2017 - 2018 Season


upcoming shows medium

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

Action Sequence

Created and directed by Steve AckermanHelicopter flying over an explosion that says Action Sequence

A propane-fueled, muscle-bound, rough and tumble, torn shirt, bloody bicep, car chasing, bar fight, coming down on that bottom rung of a helicopter, flick a lit cigarette into a pool of gasoline so that as you’re walking away in slow motion that thing that everyone in the audience wants to blow up actually blows up behind you, all ending with a cool contextually relevant tagline, homage to 1980s action movie, action sequence.  But with puppets.

Tickets $15 ($12 students)

Thursday, June 15th, 8pm
Friday, June 16th, 8pm
Saturday, June 17th, 8pm
Sunday, June 18, 2pm

Thursday, June 22nd, 8pm
Friday, June 23rd, 8pm
Saturday, June 24th, 8pm
Saturday, June 24th, Midnight

Recommended for ages 10+

The Story of Crow Boy

The Story of Crow Boy - man with a crowThe Story of Crow Boy explores the difficult life yet compassionate vision of artist Taro Yashima. Yashima was imprisoned and tortured in the militarized fervor of Japan just prior to WWII and then faced discrimination in the USA as a Japanese émigré. Somehow despite such human brutality, he developed an ongoing faith in the sanctity of all peoples. This production draws on his autobiographical and fictional books including the Caldecott Award-winning CROW BOY (1955) about a young boy who learns to sing the “voices of crows” in defiance of his years of being bullied.

This production was named one of the 10 best plays of 2016 by Graydon Royce of the StarTribune and is back by popular demand for a special three day run!

Created by Masanari Kawahara, Sandy Spieler, Steven Epp and Momoko Tanno.

Tickets: $20 ($10 youth/student, $15 groups of 10+)

Thursday, July 13
Friday, July 14
Saturday, July 15

All performances at 7:30 pm

Won't You Be My Neighbor? A puppet concert with MPLS (imPulse) choir

Friday, June 28, 2017 at 7:30pm

lanterns on a lake

Photo by Bruce Silcox

We’re joining forces with with the MPLS (imPulse) choir to celebrate Phillips Neighborhood as we feature live music paired with puppetry vignettes that draw texts and themes from our nearby residents. The event will culminate with a lantern procession in Powderhorn Park. Directed by Bart Buch.

Tickets: $15

Puppet Cabarets!

stick drawing of a figure in the theatre saying "oh no."Each quarter we host a puppet variety show with experimental performances by members of the local puppet theatre community and live music. Anything could happen in these late-night, low brow evenings MC’d by Dhann Polnau and coordinated by Steve Ackerman. Stay tuned to our e-mail newsletter and social media to find out when they are and who's performing! As always, when experimental puppet theatre is involved, adult content may arise.

Want to perform in a future cabaret?!? E-mail Steve: sackerman@hobt.org

La Natividad

Returning December 2017!

La Natividad

Photo by Peter Sandgren

Angels and shepherds. A suspicious king. A time of social distress. A pregnant woman knocks on the doors of the city, seeking shelter. Who is it that gathers to welcome the little one into this world? This is the Christmas Story, the story of the Holy Child born in our midst. This unique event honors the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas. Enacted with beauty, humor, soulful live music, and an ending feast. Performed in English and Spanish.

Ángeles y pastores. Un rey sospecho. Un momento de angustia social. Una mujer embarazada va de puerta a puerta por toda la ciudad, pidiendo posada. ¿Quiénes reunirán para recibir al chiquito que llegará al mundo? Esta es la historia de la Natividad, la historia del niño santo nacido entre nosotros. Este evento único honra la tradición mexicana de Las Posadas, en cual la gente va por las calles de su vecindario, pidiendo posadas a varias casas, como lo hicieron María y José esa noche, al comienzo de nuestros tiempos. Imbuido de belleza y humor, con música en vivo y una fiesta con comida. (En inglés y español).

In Collaboration with / en colaboración con Saint Paul's Lutheran Church

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe

“I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.”

Photo by Bruce Silcox

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe honors the legacy of Fred Rogers (creator of the children’s television show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) and celebrates the ordinary people who do extraordinary work to make our own neighborhood a brighter, healthier, friendlier place. Director Bart Buch combines puppets, music, and visual imagery to tell the story of Neighborhood Helpers in our own South Minneapolis communities – people who hold up the light through common-sense work every day. Join us as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and shine a light on some of the wonderful people we have called neighbors.
February 1 - 25, 2018

NEA logo

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Puppet Lab 2018

Puppet Lab logoIn the Heart of the Beast Theatre’s new artist incubator facilitated by Alison Heimstead is celebrating 7 years of radical, genre-expanding, boundary–pushing work. Join us in March for two weekends of experimental performance from four emerging puppeteers generously funded by the Jerome Foundation.

Applications are now live and are due June 9!

GIFT CERTIFICATES to our productions can be purchased by emailing boxoffice@hobt.org

Previous Mainstage Performances

Music Animated: A Puppet Concert Series featuring Dosh

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October 2016


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Basement Creatures


March 2016

The Story of Crow Boy


February 2016

Between the Worlds


2015, 2013, 2002

La Natividad


2014, 2012, 2008, 2007, 2006



January 2014

La Guadalupana/Our Lady of Guadalupe


December 2013

Kid Enkidu


Jan-Feb 2013



October 2012

Winter Dreams


December 2011

La Befana


December 2010 & 2001

A Path Home


November 2009

Beneath the Surface

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2009, 2008

Decorate the Well in Gratitude

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July 2008

Come to the Well

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March 2007

A Company of Angels


2006, 2005, 2004

GOTAMA: A Journey to the Buddha


February 2006

The Pink Dress


November 2005

Lake Street Excavations


March 2005

Wild Swans


December 2003

From the Inside Out


March 2003

Queen Nanny, Queen Nanny!


January 2003

Seed: Awesome Vessel of Power


September 2002

Befriended by the Enemy


March 2002

The Nightingale


February 2002

City Rhapsody

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November 2000

Gyre: Song for a Millennium

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December 1999

The Reaper’s Tale

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October 1989

Table, Table

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A Life of HOH

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Shoes of Infant Light

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