The Crusader Newspaper Group

Free puppet show for South and West Side families

Jeghetto and Joshua Holden to perform free shows on Chicago’s South and West Sides as part of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Neighborhood Tour April 19-22

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

This spring 2018 Festival Neighborhood Tour double-bill features Afrofuturist puppeteer Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins from Atlanta, best known as the puppeteer for the Pharrell puppet in the new Missy Elliott ‘WTF’ video.

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JOSHUA HOLDEN IS also included on the schedule for a free puppet show that covers the South and West sides of the city.  

The spring tour also brings family act “This is The Joshua Show,” starring award-winning international puppeteer, actor and joy-maker Joshua Holden of New York City, recently named one of “20 Theatre Workers You should Know” by American Theatre magazine.

Free performances are:

Thursday, April 19, 5 p.m., Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave.

Friday, April 20, (Time TBA, visit for updates)

Sweet Water Foundation’s Think-Do House, 5749 S. Perry Ave., in Englewood Saturday, April 21, 10:30 a.m., Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Neighborhood Tour is presented with the support of The Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks program.

Meet Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins:

Tarish Pipkins, a.k.a. Jeghetto, was born in a small steel mill town called Clairton, south of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a self taught artist and has been creating art from a very young age. As a teen, he moved to the east side of Pittsburgh and graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School. In the late 90s, Pipkins joined the BridgeSpotters Collective and became known for his live paintings and poetry. He was also a barber for more than 20 years.

He moved to North Carolina in 2005 where he launched his career in puppetry. There, he fine tuned his skills by doing street performances with his puppets. In 2008 he started working with Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Most recently, Jeghetto had the pleasure to work with national recording artist Missy Elliott on her music video, WTF (Where They From) controlling the Pharell puppet and doing some puppet building. He also worked on the Amazon Echo commercial featuring Missy Elliott and Alec Baldwin as puppets.

Pipkins is a former teacher at Just Right Academy, a private alternative school for children with special needs. He is married and a proud father of five children. Jeghetto’s passion is promoting Oneness through the magic of puppetry.

About Joshua Holden; This is The Joshua Show!:

Joshua Holden, award-winning international puppeteer, actor and joy-maker based in NYC, was named one of “20 Theatre Workers You should Know” by American Theatre magazine. Holden was on the Broadway national tour of “AVENUE Q,” the Lead Puppeteer in “Peter Pan 360” (ThreeSixty Entertainment) and garnered an Arts Impulse award as well as an IRNE nomination for “Best Actor In a Musical” as Bill Snibson in “Me & My Girl” (Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston). He worked with international street artist Banksy on his controversial piece “Sirens of the Lambs.”

A proud Massachusetts native and an alumnus of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, he earned a B.F.A. in Acting from The Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. He also performed in the inaugural Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival in 2015.

About the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival:

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was founded to establish Chicago as a prominent center for the art of puppetry, and to cultivate a diverse audience for internationally significant, culturally transformative works of puppetry.

The biennial festival, returning January 17-27, 2019, presents the highest quality local, national and international puppet shows in venues across the city—showcasing an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles from around the world including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, tiny toy puppets, and distinctive, innovative styles of contemporary puppetry. Each festival takes place at dozens of Chicago civic venues in partnership with many cultural partners and welcomes more tha 14,000 audience members. The festival, founded by Artistic Director Blair Thomas, is a mission-driven program of Chicago-based puppet theater company Blair Thomas & Co.

For more information, visit, follow the festival on Facebook at, on Instagram at and on Twitter @ChiPuppetFest.

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