In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Library

The Concept

Heart of the Beast is working towards installing the twin cities first Puppet and Mask Lending Library at our very own Avalon Theater.

The lending library will be a collection of puppets and masks on display, many of which will be available for check out like a book from a library, at no cost to the public. These puppets and masks can be utilized for protests, community events, school plays, personal celebrations and more. During library hours, the public can come for a visit or check out a puppet.

  • Some of our puppets in the library will require puppeteers and/or transportation. For these puppets there will be a fee attached to pay our contracted puppeteers for their time transporting and performing at your event. When you visit the library we will indicate which puppets and masks require puppeteers. Coming soon, an electronic catalog.
  • Puppeteers and transportation are always available for all puppets for an additional cost. 
  • Hiring puppeteers will cost $75 an hour, transportation rental is  $150. Costs may go up based on project requirements.
Untitled design

Image Description: A square with the HOBT hand logo that reads "In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Library" framed in purple.

DSCF9867 (1)

Image Descriptions: Three photos by Uche Iroegbu, show a series of colorful masks, animal, and human against a black backdrop. These masks were crafted by HOBT artists and community members over many years.

How it Will Work

You will be able to visit the puppet library during its hours of operation. 

  • Our goal is to open the library on Saturday, April 29, 2023.
  • The puppet library will be open every other Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, on the first and third Saturday of the month. You can check our online calendar to confirm it’s open.
  • During your visit you can check out a puppet with a volunteer or staff person working at the front desk. To do so, you will fill out a log with your basic information: your name, phone number, email address, the name of the puppet checked out, and the date of check out.
  • You will get a mini lesson in how to wear and operate the puppet or mask that you are borrowing. Puppets can be checked out for a maximum of two weeks at a time. If you want to return your puppet before then you can make arrangements with us. 
  • Normal puppet wear and tear is to be expected.  You will sign a pledge to care for the puppet to the best of your ability and pay for any major damage to the puppet. 

It will be a group effort to keep the puppets in good condition, free and available to all and we ask for grace as we launch the library.

*Hours of operation are subject to change as the library develops.

Progress Made

After fundraising and planning for the library last year, a team of three is now starting to design and install puppets and masks in phases. 

  • Phase 1: Masks in the lobby, April 29, 2023
  • Phase 2: Backpack puppets on top of the sidewalls in the auditorium, April 29, 2023
  • Phase 3: Misc. puppets and masks, circular staircase and second floor, June, 2023
  • Phase 4: Hand puppets, auditorium,  July, 2023

Adding Puppets to the Library

We are kicking off the library opening with the puppets currently living at the theater we will soon begin building the collection. 

  • We will invite two artists to build pieces in the 2023-24 season. Our goal is to commission two artists per quarter. 
  • We will work with schools and communities as another avenue to add to the library.