Join us for the next Festival: January 15-26, 2025

spring 2024

Join the Chicago Puppet Lab: Apply Now!

The Chicago Puppet Lab is a puppet theater incubator and residency program that supports artists in bringing to life new works of puppet theater. The program accepts 8 artists or artist groups for a 8-month, in person laboratory process led by Puppet Lab Co-Directors: Tom Lee and Grace Needlman. Lab artists participate in weekly meetings where artists share, discuss, meet deadlines, and learn from one-another’s work as well as from expert guest artists. Learn More and Apply Now!

in the heart of winter

An Oasis of Fascination & Artistry

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is celebrated for consistently excellent and unforgettable puppetry experiences. It is an oasis of fascination and artistry — representing a breadth of style, quality of work and spectacular depth of artistic achievement from the US and abroad. In the heart of winter, the Festival spans 11 days and dozens of Chicago venues, sharing 100+puppetry activities with 14,000+ guests. The Festival includes performances, symposium, Catapult artist intensive, workshops, the Free Neighborhood Tour, and more. Since its launch in 2015, the Festival has highlighted artists from nations including Iran, Korea, Japan, Chile, South Africa as well as from Europe, Chicago and across the U.S. with the goal of promoting peace, equality, and justice on a global scale. We hope you will join us for the next Festival, January 15-26, 2025!

welcome letter from the artistic director & founder

Once again the puppets travel to our Chicago home.

Deep in the heart of the winter, we gather in dark theaters, set aside our homosapien centrism, and allow the material world of surrogate humans, animals and spirits to stand before us. These puppets have stories to tell.

You will hear of: a revolt of the animals to save the planet, an epic ancient Persian tale, the adventures of a marooned astronaut, the creation of an afrofuturist Pinocchio, a terrible terrible monster facing his greatest fear, an unsuspected deal with the devil, an Aunt’s auspicious invitation to lunch, and urban youth encountering gun violence. The treat for you, dear viewer, lies with the storytellers themselves: the puppets. They will speak to us in their own rare language, beyond mere words or the physical world, offering us entry into our own transcendent experience.

Let the enchantment begin!

Photo Saverio Truglia


give us a boost

How it Happens: With Your Support

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival exists because of the generous donations of our partners and friends. To ensure the future vitality of the Festival, please make a donation online today!