Puppet festival brings free theater to Chicago neighborhoods

Now in its third year, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival features three productions from France and a special First Nation tale produced by the daughter of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

“Ajijaak on Turtle Island,” produced and co-directed by Heather Henson, connects sand hill cranes, the earth and its people as Ajijaak, a crane, migrates. As the festival’s opening show, the story features connections between the Ojibwe, Lakota and Cherokee nations.

The three French productions, here as part of The Festivals Exchange, include an all-ages look at the transformation of a plastic shopping bag in “L’apres-midi d’un foehn Version 1;” a presentation for kids 10 and older about how the threads of life weave for a puppeteer and a musician in “Tria Fata;” and a story for those 16 and older about the woman who shot Andy Warhol, “Chambre Noire.”

A Free Festival Neighborhood Tour brings international puppeteers to a local stage. The performances will be at nearly every corner of the city from Marquette Park to Englewood/Washington Park, Woodlawn and Navy Pier.

The puppet festival, which features artists from five states, Chicago and 11 countries, isn’t all for the kiddos. There are some satirical pieces and others with more adult flavor.

If you go

3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Jan. 17-27

Performances held across Chicago

$10-$40, some performances are free

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

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