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4 Puppetry Companies In Chicago You Should Know

January 6, 2017 by CJ Schwartz
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If you think puppets are “just for kids,” think again. Yes, many puppet shows are geared toward young audiences, but there are many, many performances kids and adults can both enjoy. Here are four puppetry companies in Chicago you should know.

Manual Cinema

Manual Cinema

Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry with cinematic techniques and unique sounds/music to create stunning immersive visual stories. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, actors, puppets, and live feed cameras, Manual Cinema’s unique brand of puppetry is sure to leave you breathless. You may have seen some of their work like Lula Del Ray or their collaborations with theater companies like Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth currently playing at Lookingglass Theatre.

Blair Thomas & Co

Blair Thomas

Blair Thomas & Co creates contemporary puppetry and visual theater. Blair Thomas himself twice has received the international UNIMA awards for excellence in the art of puppetry and twice awarded the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship awards. You can see their work in action with Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth  currently playing at Lookingglass Theatre.

Rough House Theatre


Rough House. through music, puppetry, and performance, tells stories that are intimate, strange, and sincere. You may have seen them perform work at the National Puppetry Festival or The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.

Nasty, Brutish, & Short: A Puppet Cabaret


Nasty Brutish & Short is an evening of contemporary short-form puppet and object-based theater for adult audiences. It’s a low-risk environment for artists to try out new work. It also fosters artistic exchange between puppet artists of different generations and mediums. You can check out their performances at Links Hall.

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