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Dedicated to the art of puppetry in the D since 1990, the PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater and Puppet Center is a magical little repertory theater that has about a dozen shows in its roster – and you and your children can catch a different one every month.
"We view puppetry as a place where all arts come together," explains director Igor Gozman says. There's theater, dance, music, painting – even literature. One show, Sleeping Beauty, tells an entire tale with classical music; no dialogue. "Little children get that," Gozman says. "It's a most amazing thing. It's in their DNA."
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Puppets also serve as a "natural way for children to get engaged in learning any subject," Gozman adds, whether it's simple counting, words or social studies, because "it comes with a story."
Often, older kids and parents find themselves drawn in, too. "People grew up and forgot how to do that," Gozman says. "It's almost biological." Like riding a bike, you might say.
In addition to seeing the handmade puppets (from hand and rod puppets to marionettes and even full body costumes) on stage, take a peek in the little "museum" attached to the small theater. Here, you'll see cultural examples of puppets spanning West African to Russian – even "Applesauce," a red dragon from '50s Detroit kids TV show Milky's Movie Party. If staff is available, they're more than happy to give you a mini tour and explain more about the creations in the cases and on display (you can schedule a tour, too, if you have a group; note that these are limited to 10-15, due to the small space).
Kids got the itch to create? Stay after any given show for a workshop, in which kids learn how to make a puppet tied to the play they just saw – and start a whole new performance when you get home.