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Puppet theater group to head youth arts camp at Holmes

Z Puppets Rosenschnoz will be bringing their national touring show, “Monkey Mind Pirates,” to the Historic Holmes Theatre next week. The free performance at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 28 will be preceded by a weeklong children’s theater arts camp in which the members of Z Puppets will teach campers how to make their own puppets, write songs, and use basic yoga and calming techniques to combat stress, anxiety and depression. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Fresh on the heels of this week’s summer theater camp by the Minnesota Children’s Theatre, the Historic Holmes Theatre will be offering a second theater arts camp starting this Monday, June 24 and continuing through Friday, June 28.

This second theater camp will be offered by Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, a traveling theater company that features not only live actors, but a colorful cast of puppets.

Like this week’s MCT visit, the Z Puppets’ camp will culminate in a live performance featuring participants in the weeklong camp, which is open to local youth ages 6-11.

Z Puppets performer Chris Griffith says the Friday, June 28 performance of the group’s nationally touring play, “Monkey Mind Pirates,” will include both puppets made by the camp participants, as well as a new song that they have composed themselves.

“The campers are going to be making puppets, doing some song writing and learning about different ways to use mindfulness and yoga to combat stress,” Griffith said in a telephone interview. “Then on Friday they’re going to join us for a public performance of ‘Monkey Mind Pirates’ in the evening.

“They will become the chorus of the show, and they will perform an original song they wrote during the week, using the puppets they have made.”

The “Monkey Mind Pirates” show is all about a sea captain on a quest to find the “treasure of calm.”

“Every time he’s about to find the treasure, his ship is attacked by pirates who try to keep him from finding calm,” Griffith said, explaining the show’s plot. “They’re called the ‘monkey mind pirates.’

“‘Monkey mind’ is an ancient term used to describe those times when your mind is swinging back and forth from thought to thought, like monkeys swinging through a jungle.”

In other words, he added, it’s about not letting distractions make you “stressed out.”

The theater camp also focuses on helping children use tools like basic yoga techniques to combat stress, anxiety and depression, Griffith said.

“We’ve been working with youth and children for close to 20 years,” he continued.

“What we’ve found with this show is that kids respond almost immediately to the metaphor of monkeys attacking your mind.

“It gives children and families a different way to talk about the stresses that they have — and through it all, it’s a very playful and fun performance.”

The performance of “Monkey Mind Pirates” begins at 7 p.m. Friday, June 28 on the Holmes Theatre’s main stage.

Through funding provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Legacy Amendment, the performance itself is free, though free will donations will be accepted.

The cost to participate in the Z Puppets camp is $62, and each camper will receive a “Monkey Mind Pirates” CD, yoga mat and workbook.

For more information, or to register for the camp, please contact Historic Holmes Theatre Director Amy Stearns by e-mail at, or call the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-7469.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454