Nashville Public Library Presents the 2013 International Puppet Festival

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Festival to feature puppetry performances, workshops, activities and a parade.

Cinderella marionette at Nashville Public Library

“We have a top-tier library system, and this festival will be like no other happening anywhere else in the country this summer,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

This summer, renowned puppeteers and performers from all over the world will make their way to the Nashville Public Library for the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival, underwritten by the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the Nashville Public Library.

The festival – free and open to the public – will run from Friday, June 21, through Sunday, June 23, and will transform the library and surrounding area into a vibrant, family-friendly carnival featuring puppet performances, live music and an outdoor street fair.

“We have a top-tier library system, and this festival will be like no other happening anywhere else in the country this summer,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. “This one-of-a-kind festival will showcase our library and our city to 25,000 visitors from around the country and the world.”

The library hosted Nashville’s first international puppet festival in 2008, which attracted more than 18,000 people. New this year for the second International Puppet Festival is the Puppet Festival Parade. The parade will wind down Church Street through the Arts District and feature performers with stilts, unicycles, floats, vintage cars and puppets.

“Whether you are 45 years old or 5 years old, you will enjoy the International Puppet Festival,” said library director Kent Oliver. “Between puppet shows, workshops, food, music, the parade and evening performances, you will connect with something. And that is what we are all about – offering services that connect everyone to reading.”

The marionette tradition began at the Nashville Public Library in 1938 when Tom Tichenor performed a rendition of “Puss in Boots.” Seventy-five years later, marionette shows are still performed at the downtown library on Friday and Saturday mornings by Wishing Chair Productions, the library’s very own puppet troupe.

Tickets for the International Puppet Festival are free, but limited. Beginning May 9, attendees may reserve tickets online in advance at for a convenience fee of $2.50 per ticket. The Nashville Public Library is located at 615 Church Street in downtown Nashville.

In addition to the festival, the library will hold two special events in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The first event is Thursday, June 20, and will feature the debut performance of Wishing Chair Productions’ “String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry” at the Country Music Hall of Fame. On Saturday June 22, TPAC will present a performance by world renowned puppeteer Phillip Huber. Known for his work with marionettes in “Being John Malkovich” and in Disney’s “Oz, The Great and Powerful,” Huber will perform “Suspended Animation.”

Tickets for both shows go on sale May 9th online at Tickets are $30 in advance online or $40 the night of event at the box office. Ticket price includes a reception before the show.

Feature performances will be given by the following troupes:

  •     Phillip Huber Marionettes, United States
  •     Velo Theater, France
  •     Dragon Art Studio, China
  •     Kawasemi-Za, Japan
  •     Sombras Chinas, Argentina
  •     Dresdner Figurentheater, Germany

Other performers include:

  •     Lee Bryan, That Puppet Guy
  •     Wishing Chair Productions
  •     The Puppet Truck
  •     Bob and Elise Nathanson, Puppets to Go
  •     Tennessee Puppet Guild
  •     Coal Train Railroad
  •     Davey Ukulele and the Gag Time Gang
  •     Professor Smarty Pants
  •     Wild Goose Chase Puppet Theater
  •     Kathleen Lynam
  •     Rachel Sumner
  •     Scott Tripp

About Nashville Public Library
Nashville Public Library maintains a collection of 2 million items, including books, periodicals, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and downloadable books, movies and music. The library also offers more than 800 public-use computers, free art exhibits, educational programs and events for all ages, such as historic marionette shows by Wishing Chair Productions enjoyed by nearly 8,000 children each month. The system also offers Bringing Books to Life, a pre-K initiative for children, teachers and families; 24/7 reference assistance; and interlibrary loan. The Oral History and Special Collections Center houses historical photographs, documents and memorabilia. The center also offers online genealogical resources such as Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest, and incorporates the award-winning Civil Rights Room. Equal access is offered through the Talking Library audio reading service for the print disabled- and Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. For more information, call (615) 862-5800 or visit

About Nashville Public Library Foundation
The Nashville Public Library Foundation provides private funding for enhancements to library buildings, programs and collections. Recent initiatives include: opening the new Oral History and Special Collections Center, funding a pre-school literacy program called Bringing Books to Life; sending the famed marionettes on the road with the Puppet Truck; starting T.O.T.A.L., a youth empowerment program; and mounting professionally curated art exhibits. Each year, the foundation gives the Nashville Public Library Literary Award to distinguished authors and other individuals for their contributions to the world of books and reading; past recipients include Ann Patchett, John Updike, David Halberstam, David McCullough, John McPhee and Margaret Atwood. For more information on the NPLF or to make a gift, visit


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