Once Upon A Time...

Or 1990, a group of European trained artists met for the very first time in Southeast Michigan. They were Luda Mikheyenko, Irina Baranovskaya and Igor Gozman.

Working together these artists explored their common love for puppetry, and in 1995 they founded the American Russian Theater~renamed PuppetART the Detroit Puppet Theater in 1999.

Today PuppetART offers a repertoire of eleven productions based on fairytales and folktales from around the world. Performances feature hand, rod, shadow, floor tabletop and string or marionette puppets all designed to incorporate the artistic traditions of the culture the source material is drawn from.

By September 2017
Total 2,276 shows for more than 123,000 children and almost 70,000 adults.

2015. PuppetART received 6 nominations from Encore Michigan to Annual Oscar Wilde Awards for Michigan Theaters and won 2 award.

School Residencies:    Higgins Elementary; Academy of Americas; ten Detroit Schools in collaboration with InsideOut Literary project; Shiawassee Arts Center, Owosso, MI; Morse and Wattles Elementary Schools, Troy, MI

Support Local Communities    Donated 1484 tickets for the theater performances to schools, churches, clubs, centers and other children’s organizations and projects.
Performed free of charge shows for Pontiac Art Center, Shir Shalom, Compuware, Bortz Nursing home, group of Native American families, COTS
Festivals    Detroit Festivals of Art,
2002 Dearborn, Regional Puppetry Festival;
African Festival,
Kalamazoo Russian Festival
2014 Detroit, Great Lakes Regional Puppet Festival.


From Detroit:
Nancy Henk Brad Lowe, Robert Papineau,
Bob Smith, Jim Jarecki, Jahra McKinney, Greg Johnson, Eugene Clark, Fratellanza Theater

From Connecticut:
Marilyn O’Connor Miller,
James Napolitano

From Indonesia:
Sigit Soegito


“PurimShpiel”    114
“Cinderella”    262
“Firebird””    168
“Little Purim”    55
“Close the window”    92
“Kolobok”    402
“Crane Maiden”    151
“Oh, Ananse!”    250
“Turtle Island”    140
“Banana for Turtle.”    93
“The Sleeping Beauty”    166
“Snow Queen”    54
“Dreamtigers”    32
“Mouk’s Adventures”    10
Sept. 2014    Premiere of “Mouk’s Adventures”
Sept. 2012    Premiere of “DreamTigers”
Sept. 2011    Premiere of “Snow Queen”
Sept. 2007    Premiere of “Sleeping Beauty”
Dec. 2005    Premiere of “Banana for Turtle”
April 2003    Premiere of “Turtle Island”

PuppetART introduced a pilot program for teachers to integrate Puppetry into educational curricula.
PuppetART published “A History of Puppetry in Detroit”, a historical research of the important events and people who influenced the development of Puppetry in Detroit from the beginning of the 18th century to current times.
Collaboration work with The Rackham Symphony Choir “Reluctant Dragon”
November 2001    Premiere of“Journey to Asamando” – production for adult audience based on African tale in collaboration with storyteller Jahra McKinney and composer Robby Gall.
April 2001    Premiere of “Oh, Ananse!” in collaboration with storyteller Jahra McKinney.
March 2001    3 weeks tour to FAME Festival, Indiana with “Cinderella”
April 2000    Premiere of “Crane Maiden”
December 1999    First Holiday Month in PuppetART ,celebration of Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa
October 1999    Premiere of “Kolobok”
July 1999    PuppetART changed the name American Russian Theater to Detroit Puppet Theater
June 1999    Received the Letter of Recognition from Mayor of Detroit, Dennis W. Archer
April 1999    First Puppetry Month in PuppetART
Sept.1998    Opening of First Season
May 1998    Start of renovation of new place to make it new home for PuppetART – Theater, Studio, Museum.
March 21, 1998    PuppetART signed contract to lease the space at 25 E. Grand River, downtown Detroit
July 1997    Weeklong tour to Birmingham, Alabama with “Cinderella”
June 1997    Premiere of “Close the Window” at JCC in collaboration with award-winning storyteller Corinne Stavish
November 1996    Weeklong tour to Phoenix, Arizona with “The Firebird”
July 1996    New production, “The Firebird” was presented on Great Lakes Regional Puppetry Festival in Columbus, Ohio
Sept.1995    PuppetART was officially registered as a Nonprofit Corporation – American Russian Theater Company
1995    “Cinderella” was brought from St. Petersburg, Russia by Natasha Khusid
1994    Premiere of “Purim Shpiel” performed in Workmen Circle, Oak Park and later at JCC and synagogues
1993    Group met Alva Dworkin – first manager of the future PuppetART
1991-1992    First production: “How about That?”
Autumn 1990    Luda Mikheyenko, Irina Baranovskaya and Igor Gozman met.