Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

History and Facts

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In 1876, Philadelphia became the first American city to host the World's Fair. The Centennial International Exhibition attracted flocks of excited crowds from all over the country. This exhibit featured a small cottage that was officially built and sponsored by Sweden. The charming dwelling resembled a typical schoolhouse in rural areas of Scandinavia. After the World's Fair ended in Philly, Frederick Law Olmsted enthusiastically pushed for the acquisition of the cottage. This prominent landscape architect designed much of Central Park and other major urban green spaces nationwide. In 1877, the Swedish Cottage was transferred to the newly open Central Park. For decades, the building simply served as a decorative and aesthetic installation in the heart of this famous park. In the late 1940s, the Swedish Cottage became the main home base of a traveling entertainment entity that specialized in marionette performances. The company was actually established in the late 1930's, but it wasn't tied to any single location in the United States. In 1973, the Swedish Cottage was renovated and transformed into a venue specifically for marionette shows. Throughout the decades, this intimate place has entertained countless families from NYC and the rest of the globe. It's worth noting that the theatre is officially managed by the City Parks Foundation, which receives municipal funding to maintain and enhance NYC's green spaces.

Entertainment and Events

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre mostly entertains kids under the age of 10. However, adults are more than welcome to accommodate the little spectators. The theatrical productions essentially revive some of the most popular tales from children's books. For example, youngsters have the chance to see the Three Little Pigs come to life in this charming venue. During the holiday season, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre hosts special shows that have themes of Christmas, Hanukkah and other celebrations. Most of the puppets and figures at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre are carved and crafted by master artisans from New York City. Some of the marionettes even have modern accessories and customs that are adapted to the latest trends in fashion, sports and pop culture. For example, a cat on a skateboard has been one of the most popular characters in recent years. The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is known to have some of the most skilled marionettists in the United States, and arguably the entire world.

Visiting Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is tucked away in the woods of Central Park, which is the most visited green space in New York City. You can get to the theatre by taking a New York City subway to the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History station. The A, B, C and D trains serve this busy underground station that's adjacent to the famous Museum of Natural History. The theatre is accessible just off the 79th Traverse Street that intersects Central Park West. It should take you about five minutes to walk from the subway stop to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. The Central Park Conservancy 79th Street, Belvedere Castle and Shakespeare Garden could be used as reference points en route to the small entertainment venue. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses also stop right along the 79th Traverse Street near the FDNY Manhattan Central Office. Another way to get to the theatre is to take a subway to the Upper East Side. Some MTA buses also navigate Fifth Avenue, which has a section that's known as Museum Mile. For comparison purposes, the walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is just over half a mile.

Location: The Swedish Cottage is located in Central Park at W 79th Street and the West Drive, south of the outdoor Delacorte Theatre behind the Belvedere Castle

Click here to visit Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Central Park at W 79th Street
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