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Not your mom's Muppets: A weekend of whimsy and performance at the Detroit Puppet Slam

When you hear “puppet show,” your mind might go to googly eyes glued onto a sock. Or maybe you think of something like Sesame Street or Jim Henson’s iconic movie Dark Crystal. But chances are you haven’t seen the puppets starring in the 2022 Detroit Puppet Slam.

From papier-mâché talking plants to larger-than-life black cats, the Detroit Puppet Slam will feature original puppets in a line-up of live shows this weekend. We spoke with several artists set to perform plus Carrie Morris, the founder of the nonprofit behind the slam: Detroit Puppet Company.

After years as a puppet curator for the Detroit Institute of Arts, Carrie purchased a house in Detroit—near the border of Hamtramck, and founded Carrie Morris Arts Production—which would eventually be rebranded as the Detroit Puppet Company. What began as a grassroots art and performance space in 2015 has grown to include arts programs, professional development for local artists, and place-keeping initiatives for northwest Detroit and Hamtramck.

The annual Detroit Puppet Slam is one of those initiatives. This year’s slam, which runs from Thursday, October 20 to Sunday, October 23, will showcase local and national puppeteers for Detroit audiences. The event includes two family-friendly matinees and three evening performances for adults. You can purchase tickets here.

Find a sneak peak of the artists and their puppets, as well as snippets from Stateside producer April Van Buren's conversations with them, in the slideshow above.

Support for arts coverage on Stateside comes from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council.

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April Van Buren is a producer for <i>Stateside</i>. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.
Ellie Katz joined the Stateside team as an intern in September 2022.
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