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In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre Directory Logo
1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55407
Prices vary by program
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Scroll to the bottom for a link to performance calendar

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre (HOBT) is located in the historic Avalon Theater in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. They have offered a variety of family friendly events and shows throughout the year, including Saturday Shows for Kids, free shows at Calhoun Square and Midtown Global Market, a Christmas Nativity (La Natividad), and the annual MayDay Celebration and Parade at Powderhorn Park. HOBT is in the process of transformation right now and there are no family shows currently offered.

Gary's Garden at the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Image courtesy of HOBT; photo by Bruce Silcox.

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In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre Mission

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre nurtures creative empowerment through the joy and magic of puppetry performance and education.

Shadow Puppetry at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater
Shadow Puppetry at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. Photo Credit: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre


Puppet and Mask Lending Library

The Twin Cities first Puppet Lending Library operates out of the Avalon Theater. Staffed by volunteers, the lending library is open to the public on select Saturdays and includes a collection of puppets and masks available for people to borrow like a library book. Available items include hand puppets, backpack puppets and masks. HOBT suggests puppets and masks can be used for protests, community events, school plays, and personal celebrations. Puppets and masks may also make great inspiration for storytelling and imaginative play.

  • Loans are for a two-week period.
  • Patrons will need to fill out a log with contact information and sign a pledge to care for the puppet to the best of their ability.
  • A staff person will give borrowers a mini lesson on how to use the puppets and/or masks prior to check out.
  • Puppeteers and transportation are available (and sometimes required) with any puppet loan for a fee that covers the puppeteers time and the cost of transporting.

However, keep in mind that these puppets are artist-made originals and require age-appropriate supervision. At this time, HOBT does not have age limitations but, as these are not toys, I would not be surprised to see them added in the future.

The puppet library is currently open first and third Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. These hours are subject to change and we recommend checking the website. We have a link at the bottom of this page to the puppet library page.

Summer Camp

HOBT offers summer camps for kids ages 8 through 13 to learn a variety of puppetry and puppet-making techniques. Learn more about this year’s program in our Annual Summer Camp Guide.

In the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade & Festival

Each spring HOBT has been organizing the MayDay Festival since 1975 and has grown into a beloved annual event. Traditionally HOBT would invite the public to start collaborating toward the event with brainstorming sessions and float workshops beginning in February. Community members, including families with children, were invited to participate in these free workshops to help create a float for the parade. Both the MayDay festival and the parade were free to attend.

Between public health issues and finances, HOBT took a break from MayDay for a couple years, and when they returned in 2022, HOBT partnered with several community organizations to launch the new MayDay Season. While there was no parade, the theater hosted a block party festival that included family-friendly elements and HOBT’s signature pageantry. Participants could watch puppetry, poetic theater and dance performances, art activities for both kids and teens as well as food. The festival was a celebration of International Workers Day with an emphasis on social justice and immigrant rights.

Tree of Life at the In the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade and Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Tree of Life – Image courtesy of HOBT.

May Day Parade Times

The parade has traditionally started at Noon, with the festival following at Powderhorn Park and the Tree of Life Ceremony beginning at 3:30pm. Festivities would keep going until dusk. HOBT did not bring back the parade in 2022 and has not yet made announcements for 2023.

Learn more here: MayDay Parade & Festival: HOBT’s Annual Spring Greeting

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