The words Animal Amigos next to a smiling man holding a basket with puppets around him

What If Puppets — 'Animal Amigos'

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 6, 2023 - December 9, 2023 | Polsky Theatre

School shows:
10 a.m. Wednesday, December 6;
10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday, December 7;
10 a.m. Friday, December 8 (SOLD OUT).
Tickets start at $5.

Public shows:
6 p.m. Friday, December 8;
10 a.m. Saturday, December 9.
Tickets are $12.

Individual Tickets

Recommended for grades Pre-K – 2.

Gather ‘round the Tree of Life for a bilingual retelling of two delightful Mexican folktales, "The Adventures of Tio Conejo" and "Medio Pollito."

In “The Adventures of Tio Conejo,” meet Tio Conejo (Uncle Rabbit), a trickster character found in traditional stories popular in Venezuela, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Tio Conejo is on the run from hungry Coyote, who would like nothing more than to make rabbit soup for supper! Clever Tio Conejo won’t let that happen and finds ways to outsmart Coyote again and again. Tio Conejo discovers the ultimate refuge from Coyote... rocketing himself to the moon, where tradition says you can still see him to this day.

“Medio Pollito” is the story of Medio Pollito, the little half-chicken born with one leg, one wing, one eye and half a beak. Bullied by his siblings for being different, Medio Pollito sets off for Mexico City, hoping to find his place in the world. Along the way, he befriends and rescues Water, Fire and Wind, who teach Medio Pollito that despite his shortcomings, he can find ways to help those in need. His new friends return the favor when Medio Pollito has a close call with a chef eager to make chicken soup!

Over the past three decades, What If Puppets has captivated nearly 2 million people through its productions and educational programming. Audiences delight in the craftsmanship of the puppets, which range from glove puppets to marionettes to innovative shadow and object-based puppetry. They use humor and heart to present stories that connect to the complex social-emotional experiences of young audiences.

What If Puppets holds the distinction of receiving three Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA-USA) Citations of Excellence. The UNIMA-USA award was created by Jim Henson to promote high quality puppetry in the U.S. and is considered the “Academy Award” of puppetry.

In 2020, as the arts world was rocked by closures due to COVID-19, the company's leadership seized the opportunity to research and develop a strategic vision. A community-needs assessment was conducted, revealing the need for learning-through-play and arts integration strategies to support the social-emotional development of children ages 0-8. There was also a clear call for innovative ways to access professional arts as a form of family engagement, particularly for the very young.

In response to those findings, the board revised the mission statement in 2021: “To inspire play and cultivate connections through puppetry.” The staff restructured programs to achieve the company’s new vision: “A Kansas City community that celebrates the arts as essential for early childhood development through a company that is nationally recognized as a leader in puppetry and arts integration.”

Energized by the company’s vision, they now move forward to fulfill their mission as “What If Puppets,” inviting audiences to play with them and discover how puppetry and the arts contribute to community.