NEW YORK —
In New York's Central Park, elementary school children are invited year round to see the latest production of the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater.
Bruce Cannon is artistic director and lead puppeteer. He heads a five person team and for 30 years he's been reaping a special reward.
“I just love to see the joy on their faces. I think it is important what we do because very often, particularly with inner-city kids, we’re their first exposure to theater, with that comes responsibility," said Cannon. “We live in a multi-cultural society so it's important that kids are exposed to different cultures. We know Christmas, but how many kids know about Kwanzaa? How many kids know what we all heard about Hannukah? I thought it was important to expose them to all the aspects of the holiday."
The Swedish Cottage, nestled in a wooded area of Central Park, was a gift from the people of Sweden for the US Centennial. It was brought to America, piece by piece, in 1876.
Marionettes date back more than 2000 years to the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
Cannon continues the tradition and shares the secrets of this art form with his young audience.
Kervin Peralta is a puppet captain who's been mentored by Cannon. He appreciates his coveted position and uses his experience to please an inquisitive audience.
“Performing for children is awesome because if something doesn’t work you’ll hear about it," said Peralta.
Each year, more than 100,000 youngsters watch, learn and let their views be known.
Video by Daniela Schrier