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Touring Shows & Field Trips

Bring puppets to your school, child care, party or event! With 50+ award-winning shows in our repertoire we have a wide variety of programming available to tour directly to you. Read our FAQ below to learn more about booking an amazing adventure at the Great Arizona Puppet Theatre or to find out how to get us to come to your location and event. When you're ready to book, give us a call!

FAQ for Schools or Groups

What is the Great Arizona Puppet Theater?

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater was organized as a non-profit organization in 1983 by founders Nancy Smith and Kenneth Bonar. We started as a touring company and opened a theater to the public in 1988. The theater is staffed by professional puppeteers and has won numerous awards including Best Children's Theater, the Mayor's Environmental Award for Education and the UNIMA-USA Citation for Excellence in Puppetry. Most of our shows are created and performed by our professional staff puppeteers. We also bring in outstanding national and international performers.

Our Mission is:

  • To advance and promote the Art of Puppetry
  • To celebrate the great State of Arizona - it's heritage, culture and ecology
  • To educate children and families through Puppetry
  • To enhance Arizona's cultural climate
  • Where is the theater?

    Our theater is at 302 W Latham St in central Phoenix right across the street from the Japanese Friendship Garden at Margaret Hance Park. Find directions here. It is a historic building, the former LDS 2nd Ward Church, built in 1929. We bought it in 1996, began the long process of renovation, and opened it to the public in 1999. Here's our theatre as it stands now.

    How is the theater funded?

    About 80% of our funding comes from ticket sales and contracted performances. We apply for grants and donations so we can offer quality experiences to low income children, bring in outstanding guest artists and maintain the upkeep of our historic building.

    How do your programs tie in to educational goals?

    With a repertoire of more than 60 shows we touch on many different subjects. Many shows have accompanying study guides. Find our wide selection of study guides here. For additional educational material not found on our web site, please contact the theater.

    Are there videos of your shows?

    Our work is meant to be seen live. There are a few scenes of shows available through our website.

    What's the difference between a Field Trip and a Touring Show?

    In Field Trips, groups travel to our theater in central Phoenix to see the show currently running at the theater. There may be other school groups and general public at the performance. Touring Shows come to your indoor location for a private performance.

    How do I schedule a Field Trip to the theater?

    Call the theater at 602-262-2050 to schedule a field trip to the theater. For a listing of the schedule click here. Field trip reservations must be scheduled on the phone. You cannot schedule via email or mail.

    Is there a school group rate?

    Yes. You must call in advance and sign a contract to get the school group rate.

    Groups of 25 or more: $5 a person, with 1 free adult for every 10 children

    How long is the show?

    Most shows performed at the theater, including pre-show and post-show demo, are about an hour long.

    When should our group arrive at the theater?

    Please plan to arrive 15 to 30 minutes prior to showtime so your group can be seated prior to showtime.

    Is there a gift shop or snack bar at the theater?

    We have a nice gift shop with a variety of puppets and books for sale. We do not allow drinks or snacks in the theater and do not sell them. Water is allowed.

    Is there a place to picnic?

    Yes, the Margaret T Hance Park is across the street from us. To reserve a ramada for a picnic, call the Park office at 602-534-2407. For very small groups, there are two picnic tables on the covered patio outside our theater. Please call us to see if they are available for post-show snacks.

    What is the procedure for check-in at the theater?

    The group leader checks in at the cash register before the children enter the building. Please have your paperwork and final payment ready if it hasn't been handled prior to your arrival. The group leader will receive Field Trip Passes for all children and adults in your group and distributes them to each individual in the group. Line up single file on the covered porch outside the entrance. For better viewing, line the younger ones first. As they enter the performance area, each person gives their field trip pass to the ticket taker. We will seat your students on the floor. Adults can sit towards the side or at the back. Please allow our staffer to seat the children. If you need to re-arrange seating, please do so after your entire group is seated.

    Where can buses unload and park?

    Buses can pull up to the sidewalk at the rear of the building to unload. Walk children to the front of the building facing 3rd Avenue. Enter through the gate. Your group leader will check in at the cash register and receive Field Trip Passes there. We have two bus parking places near the dumpster on the west side of the parking lot. Buses can also park on Latham Street.

    Are you close to a light rail stop?

    Yes! The Roosevelt/Central Avenue stop is a pleasant walk from the theater. Once you get off the light rail, cross 1st Avenue at Portland, heading west on Portland till 3rd Avenue. We are on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and Latham, just north of Portland.

    What if our numbers change after we sign the contract?

    Call the theater by one week before your scheduled field trip to adjust your numbers up or down. You will be charged the Field Trip rate for the number of tickets reserved by one week prior to the show. If you bring more people, they will be charged the regular door rate, provided there is room in the theater for them.

    Do we have to pay for absent children?

    Yes, if they are included in your final number given to the theater by one week prior to the show. Children and adults over your final count number will be charged the regular single ticket price.

    How far in advance should field trips be scheduled?

    Schedule as soon as you know when you want to come. Sometimes we might have room immediately. Other times a particular performance may be sold out many months in advance.

    Can we schedule a backstage tour?

    Yes! The tour cost is $2.00 per child in addition to the admission cost. There is no additional tour charge for adults in the group. Schedule this when you make your field trip reservation.

    What happens at the backstage tour?

    The students will get an extended Q&A with the puppeteer(s), go on a guided tour of the Exhibit Area, and make a paper bag puppet to take home. Depending on the show being presented, they might get to walk backstage, but sometimes this is not practical depending on the logistics of the staging. Large groups are divided up and rotate through the stations of the tour. Additional activities may be added for very large groups.

    How long is the backstage tour?

    Usually it adds about 45 minutes to your trip, but may vary depending on the size and age of your group. Call the theater to discuss your needs.

    Are 25 people always needed to get the School Field Trip rate?

    No. Child Cares need 10 children for the rate. There is no minimum number for Special Needs groups.

    Are there free tickets for Title One schools and Head Starts?

    We apply for grant funding to provide free tickets to children and teachers in Title One schools and Head Start programs through our Reach Out With Puppets program. Call to find out if tickets are still available through Reach Out With Puppets for this year, and to sign up on the Waiting List for next year.

    Do you have funding for buses to the Puppet Theater?

    Thunderbird Charities awarded a grant for school bus reimbursement for Title One Schools and Head Start programs to the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. This is capped at $3/child. Call the theater to see if funds are still available. If your field trip is approved for school bus reimbursement, have your transportation office invoice the Great Arizona Puppet Theater for payment.

    Is the theater suitable for Special Needs groups?

    Child and Adult Special Needs programs are welcomed visitors to the theater. We have ramps, flexible seating, an accessible restroom and special rates and terms for Special Needs groups. With two weeks notice we can provide an ASL interpreter, or we can accommodate your interpreter. Call the theater to discuss your group's needs.

    Are there other cultural organizations near the theater?

    Yes! The following organizations are in or around Margaret T Hance Park:

  • Phoenix Trolley Museum (http://phoenixtrolley.com)
  • Burton Barr Central Library 602-262-4636
  • Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center: 602-241-7870
  • Phoenix Center for the Arts: 602-254-3100
  • Irish Cultural Center: 602-258-0109
  • Japanese Friendship Garden: 602-256-3204
  • Can the puppet theater come to my school for a show?

    Yes. Touring Shows come directly to your facility. We have a wide variety of shows for different ages, sizes of audiences and educational goals listed on our website. Please read our Touring Shows Brochure and Fact Sheet to see our variety of puppet shows available to tour and to pick the perfect puppet show for you.

    How much does a Touring Show cost?

    A flat rate is charged, depending on the show, staging and audience size, varying from $250 to $600 for a single performance. Discounts are given for multiple performances on the same day at the same location and for prepayment in full by 2 weeks before the performance. There may be additional fees for mileage and/or special conditions.

    What kind of area do you need to set up a Touring Show?

    Individual shows have different needs, depending on the presentation and style of puppet used. Requirements for staging as well as age recommendations, maximum audience size and set-up and tear-down times are included in the Touring Shows Brochure and Fact Sheet. Nearly all shows must be performed indoors. There is an additional fee for outdoor performances.

    Are there any free Touring Shows?

    Yes. Several cities sponsor free performances of our award-winning water conservation shows ZONER & THE DRIP and ZONER'S WATER CYCLE. Solomon Pediatric Dental sponsors free performances of a cute dental hygiene show for young children within 10 miles of their location at 57th Avenue and Thunderbird. Call the theater to see what is available in your area.

    What kind of payment is accepted for Field Trips and Touring Shows?

    We accept checks, cash and credit cards.

    Are Purchase Orders (P.O.'s) accepted for payment?

    P.O.'s are accepted for payment if the PO is received by our office at least a month prior to the touring show or field trip. There is a $25 fee to use a PO. If full payment in the form of check, cash or credit card is received on or prior to the performance date, the $25 PO fee is deducted.

    What happens if we can't pay the date of performance?

    Unless prior arrangements have been made regarding late payment with our office, there will be a $25 late fee added for all invoices not paid on the day of the show.

    We had a great time. Can the kids send letters?

    By all means! We love fan mail - and it helps us see how our shows connect to the audience.

    Send mail to: Great Arizona Puppet Theater 302 W Latham St Phoenix AZ 85003

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