New York Mills Community Theatre Opportunity!

11th Annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant

The Cultural Center in New York Mills announces its 11th annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant community theater opportunity, beginning August 5 in New York Mills and ending with culminating performances on August 16 in NYM and August 17 in Perham.

Community members of all ages are invited to be part of the fun. Each year, an original play is written by Creative Director Anne Sawyer based on characters and tales from the Kalevala, the Finnish book of legends. Community members take on the roles of mythical Finnish creatures in the final narrated play.

2018 Puppet Pageant

Workshops run for two weeks, August 5-16, with two culminating performances on Friday, August 16 at 7:00 p.m. in New York Mills and Saturday, August 17 at 3:00 p.m. in Perham.

2018 Puppet Pageant Participants

There are many ways to get involved: attend daily morning workshops and be part of the show, learn to walk on stilts at Tuesday/Thursday afternoon workshops, attend select evening prop building workshops to contribute behind-the-scenes, volunteer at any of the workshops/performances to lend a hand, donate materials, or contribute financially to make it possible for others to participate. It takes a village to bring the Puppet Pageant to life, and all are invited to join the fun!

Participants connect with others and gain a variety of creative skills, including large-scale puppet and prop creation, as well as dance, music, acting, costume design, performance skills, and stilt walking (age 8+).

2018 Puppet Pageant Participants

Workshops are led by Creative Director Anne Sawyer, Artist and Puppeteer from Minneapolis, who has worked with In the Heart of the Beast, Artstart, Chicks on Sticks, and Lifeworks, along with Assistant Director Lisa Winter of Wadena and Tara Fahey, member of Chicks on Sticks and former Heart of the Beast May Day staff artist.

The cost to participate in these two weeks of art workshops and two performances is $50/child, with a $100 family max. Scholarships are available. Older teens who help with younger children and adults are FREE! Open to ages 5+ (children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult or older sibling).

Workshops begin Monday, August 5th at 9:00 a.m. at The Barn at the NYM Sculpture Park. Please pre-register by calling the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 or emailing [email protected]. Visit for all workshop times and details, as well as volunteer and supply needs and an online registration form.

Audience members have two opportunities to see the Pageant this year: first in New York Mills (following the NYM Civic & Commerce Corn Feed) at the NYM VFW Post 3289 on Friday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m., and the second in Perham (during Pioneer Days) at the Pioneer Grounds on Saturday, August 18th at 3:00 p.m. Both performances are free to attend, very family friendly, and open to all.

Call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 with questions, to volunteer, or to donate. All contributions are appreciated and necessary to bring this vibrant community theater experience to life!

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is a rural hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. We offer visitors intimate opportunities to encounter art and artists in our 80-seat concert listening room, two galleries in a historic building, a gift store featuring local artists, an artist residency program, a sculpture park, and a variety of opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.