Another “Dark Crystal Ball,” scheduled to coincide with Dragon Con, is among the events for adults that will take place during the 2019-2020 season at the Center for Puppetry Arts. CONTRIBUTED: CHRIS HUNT/CENTER FOR PUPPETRY ARTS
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A new year at the Center for Puppetry Arts brings delight, thrills

A golden celebration of Sesame Street, another dive into the creepy world of “The Dark Crystal,” and theater for adults and for the very young. All these are on order for the new season at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

One of the few arts organizations in Atlanta with a seven-figure budget, the center continues its tradition of puppet theater, events, movies and exhibits in the extensive 15,000-square-foot Worlds of Puppetry Museum.

The center’s connection with the late Jim Henson and his family makes it a natural location to celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of Sesame Street, and plans are in motion for a variety of events to salute that occasion.

“Jim was an early believer in the center,” which opened in 1978, said founder Vince Anthony. “He and Kermit cut the ribbon. We could have some of the characters here. Big Bird’s nest is in our lobby. We’re creating those plans right now.”

Brian Henson

The center will also host another edition of its adult gathering, the Dark Crystal Ball, timed so that cosplay fans assembling in Atlanta for Dragon Con can try out their costumes at the Spring Street facility ahead of time.

“The Dark Crystal” was Henson’s scary, all-puppet theatrical film from 1982 that intrigued adults and kept children awake at night. An exhibit of artifacts from the film will remain on display at the center through the end of this year, as devotees eagerly anticipate a 10-episode Netflix series of prequels called “Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” slated to be released sometime in 2019.

“We’re waiting on tenterhooks,” said the center’s marketing director Therese Aun.

Related: The Center offers “sensory-friendly” performances:

The Center for Puppetry Arts is at 1404 Spring St. in Midtown. Prices and times vary; go to for information.

The characters are fashioned from found objects is this Center for Puppetry Arts production of “Beauty and the Beast, including mops and a parasol. CONTRIBUTED: KATHRYN KOLB/CENTER FOR PUPPETRY ARTS
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Family series

“Beauty and the Beast,” June 11-July 28, adapted by Jon Ludwig.

“Old MacDonald’s Farm,” July 30-Sept. 1, adapted by Amy Sweeney, as part of Theatre for the Very Young.

“Animal Amigos,” Sept. 4-15, a bilingual production from the Mesner Puppet Theater of Kansas City, Mo.

“SPACE!” Sept. 17-Oct. 20, written by Jon Ludwig.

“The Headless Horseman of Silly Hollow,” Oct. 22-Nov. 3, by the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers of Bar Harbor, Maine.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Nov. 5-Dec. 29, based on the television special, adapted by Jon Ludwig

“The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man,” Dec. 31, 2019, through Jan. 19, 2020, by All Hands Productions of Atlanta.

“Stellaluna,” Jan. 21-Mar. 8, 2020, based on the book by Janell Cannon, adapted by Jon Ludwig.

“Milo the Magnificent,” March 10-15, 2020, by Alex & Olmsted of Takoma Park, Md.

“The Big Bad Little Red Pig Show,” March 17-29, 2020, by Lee Bryan, That Puppet Guy of Atlanta.

“Pete the Cat,” March 31-May 24, 2020, based on the book series by Kim and James Dean, adapted by Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines.

A baby bat is separated from her mother, and is adopted by a nest of birds. She’s allowed to stay, as long as she acts like a bird. The story, “Stellaluna,” is adapted by the Center for Puppetry Arts for its 2019-2020 season. CONTRIBUTED: CENTER FOR PUPPETRY ARTS
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New Directions series for adults and teens

“A Chance Encounter” (ages 12 and up), June 15-16, by Chen Hsi-Huang and the Traditional Puppet Troupe of Taipei, Taiwan.

“The Ghastly Dreadfuls” (ages 18 and up), Oct. 9-26, by Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines.

“The New Owner” (ages 12 and up), Feb. 8-9, 2020, by The Last Great Hunt of Perth, Australia.

Xperimental Puppetry Theater (XPT) (ages 18 and up), May 14-17, 2020, by various artists.

Films in the 2019-2020 season

Henson Fantasy Film Weekend:

“Labyrinth,” May 31-June 2; “The Dark Crystal,” May 31.

80s Family Film Festival

“Short Circuit,” Aug. 2; “The NeverEnding Story,” Aug. 3; “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” Aug. 4.

Adult museum programming

Puppets and Pints: various dates, beginning June 8.

“The Dark Crystal Ball: Gathering of Gelflings,” Aug. 29.

Family museum programming

Simple Machine STEM Tour Saturdays (except during October).

Henson Cosplay Day, Sept. 21.

Halloween Masquerade Tour, during the month of October.

Sesame Street 50th Celebration, beginning in the month of November.

World Puppetry Day, March 21, 2020.

Museum special exhibits:

“Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: World of Myth and Magic,” through January 2020.

“Puppets in Advertising,” opens in the spring of 2020.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.