As many theater-lovers know, the Twin Cities attracts a wide range of exciting, intriguing and unique entertainment.

This week, it’s all about puppets!

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(credit: The National Puppetry Festival 2017)

The Puppeteers of America‘s National Puppetry Festival is taking place at Concordia University in St. Paul all week long!

The festival brings in more than 400 puppet artists, and this year’s event will feature 10 shows from three countries and seven states. The shows range in topics from traditional puppeteering to outrageous, political or unusual art.

Returning to St. Paul after 10 years, the festival will also include a special free family fun celebration to commemorate the Puppeteers of America’s 80 years in service. The free celebration runs from 12 to 5 p.m. and will include puppet shows, music, exhibits and even a parade.

To learn more about the festival, or to purchase tickets for shows, visit the Puppeteers of America online. A schedule, and brief show description, is listed below.

Monday, July 17

“Cendres (Ashes)” 7 p.m.
“Cendres” is presented by Plexus Polaire, a French and Norwegian company. The show is based off of the emotional thriller, “Before I Burn.”

Tickets cost $15

Tuesday, July 18

“Cendres (Ashes)” 5 & 9 p.m.
“Cendres” is presented by Plexus Polaire, a French and Norwegian company. The show is based off of the emotional thriller, “Before I Burn.”

Tickets cost $15

Wednesday, July 19

“The Story of Crow Boy” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“The Story of Crow Boy” is presented by In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater from Minneapolis. The show explores the life story of artist Taro Yashima.

Tickets cost $15.

“UBU the King” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“UBU the King” is presented by Chicago’s Rough House Theater. The story is a satire to life and its oddities. It does so using the story of Pa Uba, who murders his way up to the Polish throne and then back down again, and features over 70 puppets.

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Tickets cost $15.

Thursday, July 20

“Paper Cut” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“Paper Cut” is presented by Israel’s Yael Rasooly. The one-woman show follows the daydreams of a lonely secretary who remains in the office after all the other workers have gone home.

“Zen Shorts” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“Zen Shorts” is presented by Rogue Artists Ensemble from Los Angeles. Based on the book by the same name, the show follows three siblings as they navigate school and the struggles of growing up.

Tickets cost $15.

Friday, July 21

“Unfolding” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“Unfolding” is presented by Connecticut’s Margarita Blush. This show explores themes of women’s wisdom and empowerment. There will be hand-crafted puppets, live acting, shadow imagery and more.

Tickets cost $15.

(credit: The National Puppetry Festival 2017)

Saturday, July 22

“The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales” 11 a.m.
“The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales” is presented by the Mesner Puppet Theater from Kansas City. The show uses traditional fairy tales and turns them on their head to tell ridiculous stories.

Tickets cost $5.

“Shadow Crankie” 3 p.m.
“Shadow Crankie” is presented by Katherine Fahey and Valeska Maria Populoh, of Baltimore. The two puppeteers will be using a variety of shadow puppets and scrolling artwork to share popular songs and tales.

“Ressacs (Tides)” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
“Ressacs (Tides)” is presented by Belgium’s Compagnie Gare Centrale company. The show explores themes of crisis and how humans deal with turbulent experiences.

Tickets cost $15

“Humperdnick’s Hansel and Gretel” 7 and 9:30 p.m.
This classic fairy tale will be presented by Vermont’s National Marionette Theater.

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Tickets cost $15