Over fifty years ago, a St. Louis-based company set out to keep age-old children’s stories alive, literally.
“Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes” serves as one of the longest running puppetry theatres in the United States. Combining humor with storytelling, Kramer’s production pieces come to life to provide entertainment for audiences of all ages.
Bob Kramer, artistic director of Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes, developed an interest in puppeteering at age 3. He explained that there are three types of puppets:
- Marionettes puppets (handled using strings)
- Rod puppets (handled using rods)
- Shadow puppets (involves casting shadows on the wall using your hands)
- Hand puppets
“Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes” consists of more than just puppetry. Aside from hosting performances, the company also designs and sculpts all of their puppets. “Puppetry takes in all the art forms,” Kramer said. “Everything that you can think of is included in being a puppeteer. It’s something that you have to learn just by doing it.”
Although the puppets often intrigue audiences, Dug Feltch, president and director of Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes, has a friendly warning. Don’t call them “cute.” “In some ways, one feels it diminishes the work,” said Feltch.
“In some ways, one feels it diminishes the work,” Feltch explained. “We think dolls are wonderful and beautiful, but ventriloquists do not consider their figure a puppet.”
Those who attend Kramer’s performances are certainly in for a treat. Along with live entertainment, audiences receive a 1-hour demonstration about the making of the puppets. In addition to their theatre shows, the two also perform with the St. Louis Symphony and other orchestras
“We’re trying to pass on our skills and our knowledge to younger children and adults, so that they can learn how to do this,” said Feltch. “There’s hours and hours of work in this because the characters have to last for a long time.”
Bob Kramer’s Marionettes Puppetry Performance
- When: July 23; 1:30 p.m.
- Where: Missouri Botanical Gardens' Spoehrer Plaza (outdoors)
- More information