It can feel tiring attempting to discover something family friendly that you haven’t already experienced a bunch of times already. But with just one search, In the Heart of the Beast Mask & Puppet Theatre proves just how unique these local performers are.
Puppet shows are often a dime a dozen, with annoying voices and Day-Glo colors. But our local favorite performance group goes beyond what kids’ TV shows achieve with unique characters and a passion for storytelling.
Who is In the Heart of the Beast?
Chances are, even if you aren’t a frequented theatergoer, you’ve seen the unique puppets by the performers of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. They perform the show at many community events throughout the year.
During our city’s MayDay celebrations, you can watch their creations come to life in the parade, as well as around the festivities. And because they create their puppets and masks themselves, you won’t see these performance pieces anywhere else.
Whether you see a show at their historical Avalon Theater or out and about at Powderhorn Park, you’re always in for a surprise. And best of all, you may have an opportunity to watch these talented puppeteers sooner than you think.
Saturday Puppet Shows for Kids
Do you remember Saturday morning cartoons on TV? Kids today aren’t so lucky to have such accessible fun! It seems as if everything on TV these days is full of violence and curse words. Why not treat your family to a kid-friendly performance?
Saturday Shows for Kids does just that. Each week, families get treated to intimate theater performances by our local talented players. There are no admission tickets like with regular performance scheduled shows. However, they do request a donation of $7, or whatever attendees feel comfortable paying.
Beginning in January and running through March 10th of 2019, the puppets are planning a ton of fun shows for you. You can either catch the earlier 10 am performance or wait for the later one at noon. Many performances are in English. However, they do offer Spanish shows as well.
And, if the magic of puppetry especially takes your child, you may want to consider signing them up for the after show program. The Make-and-Take program is an additional paid event where you make your very own creation and take it home!
The cost is relatively cheap, making this a unique family outing idea. Children admission is just $5, and adult attendance is $3. Because these Saturday events are favorites, arriving earlier is crucial to guarantee a seat. And if you plan on making puppets of your own, you should probably request spots a week beforehand. Once the shows are over, everyone’s child will want to make a puppet! Spots fill up quickly, so planning can make you a real hero.
Annual MayDay Celebration Performances
Anyone who enjoys the yearly MayDay celebrations in our community have In the Heart of the Beast to thank. Their group has spearheaded the festival for over 43 years! Since then, the festivities have grown from a more intimate community event to a full-scale celebration. Chances are, even if you never miss a MayDay event, you’ll still see something new.
Four months before the big day kicks off, In the Heart of the Beast begins preparing for the festivities. The annual parade is the performer’s crown jewel, and work for the participating floats is among their top concerns. In fact, they even allow the community to assist in planning out the parade. Public workshops and idea exchanges are held starting in February, where attendees can help shape the direction of the performances. Best of all, these workshops are free to attend. If your family takes a particular liking to this performance group, you could potentially have multiple free outings planned!
The MayDay festivities are also free to the public. Be sure to arrive early to get a spot to watch the floats!
La Natividad, A Walking Puppet Theatre
Though Christmas is a long time away, you can never start planning too early. During the hectic shopping and preparing for the winter holiday season, it may seem as if you’ve seen every kind of nativity scene display possible. However, that isn’t the case until you’ve walked along with the characters!
Each holiday season, In the Heart of the Beast makes their presence known with fun community interactions. The performers leave the historic Avalon Theatre and begin their procession down two blocks, where you can see it all.
Combining Spanish and English traditions, spectators can enjoy music, food, and other festivities after the performers finish their trek. The nativity scene arrives at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where you can enjoy fiesta music, traditional food, and performances.
The influence of the Spanish La Posada connects all the elements in this annual event. La Posada is a nine-day Christmas celebration, primarily enjoyed in Mexico.
They perform the events in both Spanish and English. Add a little fiesta to your holiday celebrations and attend this year’s La Natividad!
Be Part of the Show
Do you wish that you knew of a way to support In the Heart of the Beast, but you can’t necessarily pay to be at every show? If you like most of what this performance group does, you may have what it takes to assist them from the community side!
Your favorite puppeteers are always in need of theater ushers. This volunteer position does come with the added perk of seeing the performance for free! All that is required is that volunteers show up an hour before the show goes live. Ushering is a simple task of assisting theatergoers to their seats and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the performance!
Ushers are also necessary to assist in helping hand out performance programs. There are always a ton that needs to get folded, and they certainly aren’t going to hand themselves out! If you love what In the Heart of the Beast does and you want to help out, be sure to contact them to discover more. You just may the newest addition to their team!