Between 2008 and 2016, the Nashville International Puppet Festival brought to Nashville puppeteers from all over the world. Performances showcased the wide variety of puppetry arts, from marionettes, shadow puppets, hand puppets, Punch and Judy shows, and more.
2008 Puppet Festival
In June 2008, the Nashville Public Library created Nashville’s first Nashville International Puppet Festival. Renowned puppet troupes from Italy, France, Germany and China joined some of the most talented puppetry artists in the nation. Over the three days of performances and workshops, the puppeteers dazzled more than 15,000 children and adults.
2011 Puppet Festival
In May of 2011, Nashville Public Library brought back a more scaled-down version of its first festival: Nashville’s Downtown Puppet Festival. The free three-day festival focused on local and regional troupes, highlighting the library’s own in-house puppet troupe Wishing Chair Productions.
2013 Puppet Festival
In June of 2013 the Nashville International Puppet Festival enjoyed a huge growth spurt, adding a parade that wound through downtown Nashville and included a beautiful Story Time float, a half-dozen 20′ tall puppets, a Chinese dragon, and Mayor Dean as the Grand Marshal. The festival also featured Emmy award-winning puppeteer Phillip Huber, famous puppet troupes from Japan, Argentina, Germany, China, and France, and a new production by Brian Hull and Wishing Chair Productions, String City. Church Street Park was bursting with activity and featured European buskers, face painters, a kids’ music stage and popular food trucks.
- Coal Train Railroad (United States)
- Kathleen Lynam, Crafty Characters (United States)
- Dragon Art Studio (China)
- Dresdner Figurentheater (Germany)
- Davey Ukulele and the Gag Time Gang (United States)
- Kawasemi-Za (Japan)
- Lee Bryan, “That Puppet Guy” (United States)
- Phillip Huber, Huber Marionettes (United States)
- Professor Smarty Pants (United States)
- Puppets to Go, Bob and Elise Nathanson (United States)
- Rachel Sumner (United States)
- Sombras Chinas (Argentina)
- Velo Theatre (France)
- The WannaBeatles (United States)
- Wild Goose Chase Puppet Theatre (United States)
- Wishing Chair Productions & The Puppet Truck (United States)
2016 Puppet Festival
The 2016 Puppet Festival featured 14 troupes from six countries: USA, Argentina, Russia, Belgium, Japan, and Italy. Visitors enjoyed a European-style street festival in the Library courtyard with uni-cyclists, jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters, and balloon artists. Musical performances were offered throughout the festival by Mr. Steve the Music Man, Coaltrain Railroad, Rachel Sumner, and The WannaBeatles.