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The Surprising Lessons We Can Learn from Puppets

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

Drawing inspiration from the world’s traditions of puppet and mask theater and its lively roots in transformative ritual and street theater, the artists of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) create vital, poetic theater for all ages and backgrounds. HOBT creates specially commissioned pageants throughout Minnesota and beyond, teaches puppetry and pageantry through residencies and workshops to youth, students, teachers, and communities, and produces a season of original plays and tour productions every year.

Since 1973, HOBT artists have used flour, water, newspaper, paint, and unlimited imagination to tell stories that explore the struggles and celebrations of human existence.

As part of the Arts Program’s strategy to support the operations of small and midsized arts organizations, McKnight has supported In the Heart of the Beast Theatre. In the past few years, HOBT has focused on water stewardship, raising awareness about water issues through mainstage and touring productions, public art installations, and workshops and residencies. One of the touring productions, Are You Thirsty?, is an exploration of water issues aimed at middle school age children. The performance demonstrates how much of the earth’s water is available for drinking, compares tap and bottled water, and helps to understand how people are part of the urban water cycle.

After seeing a performance of Are You Thirsty? at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, an employee of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said, “It was a phenomenal show and needs to be shared with others. I was blown away by how well they addressed every major water conservation topic and did so in a way that was engaging for both adults and kids.”

Since 1973, HOBT artists have used flour, water, newspaper, paint, and unlimited imagination to tell stories that explore the struggles and celebrations of human existence. Each spring, HOBT creates and wholly produces the May Day Parade and Pageant celebrated by tens of thousands in Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis.

Topic: Arts

October 2012