Written by Malia Araki Burkhart, Heart of the Beast Theater Board Co-Chair

What’s a Puppet Library?

What’s happening in that cool old theater on 15th Ave and Lake Street?  

Is MayDay happening this year?

I’m a Powderhorn resident, puppet-artist, and board member of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. I’ve had the honor and challenge of serving in this role as we’ve made it through a pandemic, an uprising, and inner transformations of this nearly-50-year-old organization.

After years of work, Heart of the Beast Theater is re-emerging with a new mission: to nurture creative empowerment through the joy and magic of puppetry performance and education. Our vision is a world where people thrive through welcoming, accessible, and transformational opportunities in the art of puppet-making and performance.

We have a new 3-year strategic plan and are searching for a Producing Artistic Director to help guide our work.

Lake Street has been through some tough times the past few years, and Heart of the Beast Theater has been part of conversations about its revitalization and rebuilding. We’ve renewed our commitment to stay on Lake Street and steward the 1937 Avalon Theater as a community resource. Over the winter, we invested in a “refresh” of the space, based on historic preservation research.

We invite you to come see these changes for yourself, this spring. There’s our first-ever “Puppet Fashion Show,” April 13 - 16, including an opening night filled with puppet glitz and glamor. There will be a pre-show-party fundraiser on April 13 to support Heart of the Beast Theater’s next chapter of puppets and fun. Reserve tickets and read more about this exciting new event.

We’re especially excited to invite you to the grand opening of the Heart of the Beast Theater Puppet Library on April 29. Kids and families are welcome. Puppets and masks can be borrowed and returned, like books.

The Puppet Library will be open the first and third Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, beginning May 6.

One big change moving forward is the MayDay Celebration. In 2019, Heart of the Beast Theater announced it would no longer be able to create this event on its own. A community-nominated MayDay Council was created, to reimagine MayDay as a decentralized, accessible, and sustainable event. The MayDay Council created a powerful set of Values and Affirmations as a guide in creating future MayDay celebrations and produced a community-led celebration in 2022.

In February, the Heart of the Beast Theater Board of Directors voted unanimously to release MayDay to the community. This means MayDay will no longer be hosted by Heart of the Beast Theater. We hope all those co-creating future MayDay celebrations will work together, and the values and affirmations set forth by the MayDay Council will be taken to heart.

Thank you all, for sticking with us these past few years, and the past four decades! Together we’ll bring more community art and color to our neighborhood.

Hope to see you this spring!

With love & respect,

Malia Araki Burkhart

HOBT Board Co-Chair