Atlanta Life and Culture

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Center for Puppetry Arts announces new season; upcoming program "anchored" by Jim Henson collection

As families plan their visit to the Center for Puppetry Arts to see the "world puppet premiere" of "Pete the Cat," the popular Atlanta attraction is looking ahead to the future.

The venue has released the schedule for their 2017-2018 season.

Starting June 20 with "Cinderella Della Circus," a family-friendly show that transforms the popular fairytale character into a circus performer, the upcoming season promises to deliver entertainment for children and adults alike.

More than one year after the Center for Puppetry Arts opened its World of Puppetry Museum, the upcoming season will continue to be "anchored" by the Jim Henson collection, according to Vincent Anthony, founder and executive director. Henson's family donated more than 500 artifacts to the museum, including puppets and other items from “Sesame Street," “The Muppet Show" and other important moments throughout the puppeteer's career.

“Henson is pivotal to all of our programming right now because [his work is] highly recognizable," Anthony said.

Henson-themed screenings this year include "The Dark Crystal Fan Films" (Sept. 30), which will include a panel with Henson's daughter Cheryl, the Henson-directed "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" (Dec. 9) and "I am Big Bird" (April 14, 2018), a film about Carol Spinney, the man behind the popular "Sesame Street" character.

The museum will say farewell to the popular Jim Henson Labyrinth special exhibit with the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball on Aug. 31. The exhibit was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Henson's film of the same title.

On Nov. 14, the special exhibit will be replaced by Indian Puppets: The Great Stories and Dancing Dolls. The new exhibit will "celebrate the cultural range of India through the diversity of puppetry techniques and genres," according to a press release.

The connections to Henson won't stop there, however.

"Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show" actress Fran Brill will appear on a "The Women of the Muppets" panel (March 3, 2018) alongside Miss Piggy designer Bonnie Erickson and other noteworthy guests.

Throughout the upcoming season, the center will also continue to deliver popular kids productions as a part of its Family Series. Families can anticipate the return of "Charlotte's Web" (Sept. 19-Oct. 22) and "Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat" (March 20-May 13, 2018. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," the Center for Puppetry Arts' most popular show, will return Nov. 7-Dec. 31.

This season's New Direction Series Performances for Adults and Teens will include "The Ghastly Dreadfuls" (Oct. 11-28), a spooky collection of ghost stories just in time for Halloween and "The Pigeoning," a show about a germaphobe who is pestered by pigeons.

In addition to these shows, the Center for Puppetry Arts will launch weekly activities, including Worlds Wednesdays where families can learn about global puppet traditions, Toddler Tuesdays and Museum EdVenture Days, which will feature interactive puppet pop-up gallery programs on select Fridays, Saturday and Sundays. The new weekly programming will launch in June.

"The big takeaway is that almost every day of the week there is something here at the center," Anthony said.

2017-2018 FAMILY SERIES:

"Cinderella Della Circus"

June 20-July 23, 2017

Adapted by Jon Ludwig

"Billy Goats Gruff & Other Stuff"

Aug. 10-13, 2017

By All Hands Productions of Atlanta, GA

"Mother Goose"

Aug. 15-Sept. 17, 2017

Adapted by Amy Sweeney

Theatre for the Very Young

"Charlotte’s Web"

Sept. 19-Oct. 22, 2017

By E.B. White, Adapted by Joseph Robinette

"The Three Little Pigs and More"

Oct. 24-Nov. 5, 2017

By the Grey Seal Puppets of Charlotte, NC

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™"

Nov. 7-Dec. 31, 2017

Based on the classic television special

Adapted by Jon Ludwig

"The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man"

 Jan. 2-7, 2018

By All Hands Productions of Atlanta, GA

"Rainforest Adventures"

Jan. 23-March 4, 2018

By Jon Ludwig, Stephanie Bogle & Raylynn Hughes

"The Wizard of Oz"

March 6-18, 2018

By Frisch Marionnettes of Cincinnati, OH

"Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat"

March 20-May 13, 2018

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss

Play originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain

Adapted and originally directed by Katie Mitchell

Center for Puppetry Arts production directed by Jon Ludwig


"The Ghastly Dreadfuls"  (age 18 and older)

Oct. 11-28, 2017

By Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines

"The Pigeoning" (age 13 and older)

Feb. 9-11, 2018

By Robin Frohardt, Brooklyn, NY

"Xperimental Puppetry Theater (XPT)" (age 18 and older)

May 10-13, 2018

By Various Artists


"Where the Wild Things Are"

June 3, 2017

"The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

  June 24, 2017

Screening includes a special lecture and book signing with Whitney Grace, author of a book about the film’s pioneering creator Lotte Reiniger


Aug. 5, 2017

"The Dark Crystal Fan Films"

Sept. 30, 2017

Screening & talkback with Cheryl Henson and the filmmakers

"Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas"

 Dec. 9, 2017

"Shaun the Sheep"

Jan. 20, 2018

"Tomorrow We Disappear"

Feb. 3, 2018

Screening and talkback with one of the directors

"I Am Big Bird"

April 14, 2018


Labyrinth Masquerade Ball

Aug 31, 2017

Jim Henson Birthday Extravaganza

Sept. 23, 2017

The Women of the Muppets

March 3, 2018

Panel discussion featuring Fran Brill and Bonnie Erickson

World Puppetry Day

March 24, 2018


Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Journey to Goblin City

Now-Sept 3, 2017

Indian Puppets: The Great Stories and Dancing Dolls

Opening Nov. 14, 2017

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About the Author

Jewel Wicker is an Atlanta native, Georgia State University graduate and entertainment reporter. She typically covers local events.