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M-F 1pm–5pm

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Open Eye is committed to economic accessibility to the Arts.  A Pay-as-Able ticket request may be made at the door for any show that is not sold out.

“Open Eye Figure Theatre continues to offer up fascinating work in its compressed dream factory space…Puppets are so evocative, unpredictable, and weird. Go see some.” —City Pages

Open Eye Figure Theatre presents Toy Theatre after Dark
A week of miniature puppetry spectacle, classes, discussions, and networking

Intimate, inventive, and wonderfully odd, toy theater has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, especially in the Twin Cities. From shows-in-a-suitcase, paper marionettes, and wearable theater to shadow plays, and weird object animation, a new wave of theater miniaturists is captivating audiences with fresh approaches to an old art form.


The Award-winning Open Eye Figure Theatre began showcasing the burgeoning local scene in 2006, and now hosts an annual festival to present short, new pieces from local and national artists. Two distinctly different programs offer a stunning spectrum of miniature puppetry and innovative thinking, featuring the far flung and home grown, the seasoned and the emerging.

A program of the psychological, the tantalizing, the muderous and the naughty Leave the children at home!

Featured Performers
Rough House - Chicago
Christ Sullivan - Chicago
Alex Alexander - Minneapolis
Little Blue Moon Theatre - California
Michael Sommers - Minneapolis

Performance Schedule

Fri April 13 7:30pm  followed by Opening Reception

Sat April 14 2:00pm  followed by Artist Q&A
Thur April 19 7:30pm 
Sat April 21 7:30pm

Featuring performers of every ilk, with alien space adventures, sweet shadows, twisted fairytales and the obligatory sock puppet! Ages 7-97.

Featured Artists
Michael Sommers - Minneapolis
Rachel Leaf - Minneapolis
Kristi Ternes - Minneapolis
Liz Schachterle - Minneapolis
Kurt Hunter - Minneapolis
Nicky Heart - Connecticut


Performance Schedule 
Sat April 14 7:30pm followed by Opening Reception
Sun April 15 4:00pm followed by Artist Q&A
Fri April 20 7:30pm
Sat April 21 2:00pm

Click Here to Purchase Tickets Online
Adults $18 | Students and Seniors $15 | Children $12
Pay-As-Able always available at the door upon request


Festival Workshops

Monday April 16  6:30-9:30pm
Taught by Mike Oleon and Max Wirt of Rough House, Chicago  
$25 Limited to 15 participants

Participants will discover how found objects, garbage, misused instruments and electronics can be utilized to make unexpected, unique musical spectacles. Participants will begin by experimenting with the various tonal and percussive qualities of a series collected objects to create a sonic palette. This newly created palette will be used to score a brief devised narrative to be performed by a cast of the participants and anthropomorphized bric-a-brac.

Participants will each be required to bring at least one of the following: an instrument that they don't know how to play, or an otherwise non-musical object that has interesting sonic quality. Participants are also encouraged to bring numerous hand puppets, dolls, or anything with a face.


Tuesday April 17 6:30 - 9:30pm
Taught by Chris Sullivan, Professor of Film, Video and New Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
$25 Limited to 15 participants

In this class you will learn how to create articulated paper puppets that can be used in live shadow puppet performances and animation. We will see some examples of cut puppet animation and theatre, then create our own silhouette or full color puppets for Puppet Theatre and animation. All materials provided.



Wednesday April 18 6:30 - 9:30pm
Taught by Michael Sommers, Assistant Professor of In the Dept of Theatre and Dance
$35 Limited to 15 participants. All materials included

In a fast and furious class, sculpt a head, build a body, paint and string a marionette in a process that Sommers has used for work in his suitcase narratives and Two Wheel Tour performances. Participants are to have an idea of a character that they want to create when they arrive. Participants are also invited to devise a performance for the cabaret on the closing night of the festival.

To register for any of the above workshops click here


Festival Events

Saturday April 21 11:00am | Free of Charge!
Open Eye hosts a Q&A with emerging artists focusing on puppetry education and skill development. Panelists include Liz Schachterle, Mike Oleon, Michael Nelson, and Alison Heimstead. Coffee and Bagels provided!

Saturday April 21 10pm  | $10 Click here to reserve a ticket!
Join us for the after-after-dark closing cabaret! This evening will feature local puppet artists and is sure to delight and entertain.