Courtesy of Lovelace Puppet Festival.
Courtesy of Lovelace Puppet Festival.
Courtesy of Lovelace Puppet Festival.

Shadyside Nursery

July 19
5 – p.m.

Where can you watch a puppet show inside a plant nursery?

On Sunday July 19, greenery, puppetry and family fun will unite at Shadyside Nursery. Setting up shop at the popular Weather Permitting outdoor concert series—which brings live music, food trucks and all-ages activities to the cozy nursery every Sunday evening during the summer—the homegrown Lovelace Puppet Festival will present original performances by local puppetry artists.

Courtesy of Lovelace Puppet Festival.

Back for its second annual installment with expanded performances and even more puppets, the one-of-a-kind family event celebrates the legacy of puppeteer Margo Lovelace, while also supporting local artists. Viewers of all ages will enjoy imaginative artworks and performances, a captivating atmosphere and original handmade puppets.

Dubbed a “whimsical festival celebrating absurd and fantastic local puppet theater,” Sunday’s event will feature performances by individual artists, collectives and troupes, including: 4th Wall Puppets; Cargaux of Puppets; Cheryl Capezzuti; Giant Puppet Dance Club; Light Bright Beautiful Puppetry; Miko Miko; Mugwort Forest; Puppets in Performance; Small St. Acro Bats; and The Sunset Experiment.

Courtesy of Lovelace Puppet Festival.

Those who grew up in the 1970s in Pittsburgh will likely remember experiencing a Margo Lovelace show, and the artists of the contemporary festival aim to share her wondrous work with new and old audiences alike. In 1964, Margo founded the pioneering Lovelace Marionette Theatre, creating what became the first professional puppet company in the U.S. to focus on what she called the “magic of puppetry.”

Courtesy of the Lovelace Puppet Festival.

Lovelace, who studied at Carnegie Tech, began her puppetry career as an apprentice to Cedric Head and his Kingsland Marionettes in the 1940s. She even made a short film, called Museum Piece, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1975. When she retired in 1984, Lovelace donated her remarkable collection of puppets and masks to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Want to support the Lovelace Puppet Festival? Go here to contribute to the festival’s Indiegogo campaign to help support live productions, puppetry workshops, artist fees and more.

Admission is free for kids under 12 and $10 for adults.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...