The Show Must Go On: Little Earth Extension Produces Puppet Show

This holiday season, ten youth at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota had an exciting chance to work with Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) to host and perform their third puppet show. HOBT is a local non-profit that works with community organizations that serve youth, and they have been in partnership with Little Earth for a number of years. Youth were able to pick the story, music, and even create their own puppets for the performance. HOBT picked the theme, which for this year centered on staff members who work at their local community centers, including Little Earth. Youth created shadow puppets of Program Director Ashlee Jallen herself, as well as the Director of the Youth Development Center. Puppets at HOBT are typically made of paper-mache, and are accessorized with paint, clothing, and/or other decorations to produce a finished character. According to Jallen, youth who participated were incredibly excited to get up on stage and perform with their creations even though normally, they are a shy bunch. At the end of the show, they all got to have a dance party with their puppets, jamming along to popular songs.

Not only has HOBT been creating original productions and performing for various communities since its founding in 1973, but they have also been the producers of the annual Mayday Parade & Festival in the East Phillips community of Minneapolis. Every spring on the first Sunday of May, youth at the Little Earth Extension get to participate in the community-wide event, inviting friends and family to watch. According to HOBT, the parade has been setting the example for art as community building for 43 years. On average, more than 50,000 spectators and participants come to celebrate at the festival. Since it occurs each spring, youth at Little Earth will prepare for it during the fall and winter months after their puppet performances. Often times though, it is stilt-making and learning how to walk on them that brings in the most participation! Ms. Jallen states, “Heart of the Beast is a great community partner to have! They always bring great ideas to the table and a new energy to our organization. I’m glad we are located so close to the theater and the opportunity to participate in such awesome events.” Come springtime, youth at Little Earth will be ready to go for the parade that will be held in May 2017!