Save the Dates for the Next Festival: January 18-28, 2024

Fall 2023

Fall Puppetry Events

Please join us for special events this Fall, and don’t forget to save-the-date for the next Festival: January 18-28, 2024

—Join as Little Amal Walks Across America and we welcome her with a Free Spectacle in Maggie Daley Park on Saturday, September 30.

—Take a live online workshop from anywhere in the world or in-person workshops at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.

—Enjoy The Living Room Tour, intimate fundraisers in special settings with unique food, drink and performance.

festival recap

Thank you for making the 2023 Festival so fabulous!

Chicago’s appetite for puppetry was proven yet again with more sold out shows than ever before and a delicious variety of international performances! This 5th edition of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was a great return and the inaugural year of the Festival becoming an annual event. Though the Festival did return successfully in the middle of Omicron in 2022, which was a wonderful restart — the 2023 Festival blew it right out of the water — beginning with watery Opening Night performances of Moby Dick. Audiences returned to venues all over Chicago for “Chicago’s Best Festival” (runner up behind only Ravinia Festival). Over 105 performances and events Astonished & Delighted attendees. Artists came from Chicago, the nation and internationally from Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, South Africa, and Spain. From bunraku, to shadow, to crankie scroll, pageant-style puppets and more, puppets took over for an 12 amazing days and nights of inspiration and invention. For 14,000+ national and international guests, The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival presented a substantial, in-person puppet festival, an oasis of fascination and artistry — representing a breadth of style, quality of work and spectacular depth of artistic achievement from the US.

The Festival boasted many new events this year notably a Puppet Hub at the Fine Arts Building complete with photography exhibitions, art installation and Pop Up Spoke & Bird Cafe. Although only in its 5th iteration, the Festival was again the largest festival of its kind in the nation and remains celebrated for consistently excellent and unforgettable puppetry experiences.

Join us for other events this year and please plan to come to Chicago January 18-28, 2024 for the next Festival!

from the artistic director & founder

Welcome to our 6th Edition!

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is the largest event dedicated to the artform in North America. In the heart of winter, the Festival spans 12 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 by Festival Founder & Artistic Director Blair Thomas, 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. The Festival is now annual. We invite you to come join us for the 6th edition January 18-28, 2024!

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!

Yes! Let me know about the next events!​

Want to receive the beautiful Festival Brochure?