Puppet plays 

Naia Venturi has been making puppets since she was a little girl. The creative director of The Snow Queen in Seven Stories at the Dreamland Theater in Ypsilanti is not only the brains behind the quaint theater’s marionette shows, but she accounts for a good portion of the brawn as well. It all started with a wild imagination and what would come to be a lifelong interest in the three-dimensional world of puppets and marionettes.

The daughter of an artist, Venturi was exposed to the world of fine art at a young age. As an adolescent, she was encouraged to take a few courses in puppeteering — somehow, the fascination stuck. And even though these days she spends her workaday existence in the bustling world of biotech engineering, she has still managed to keep puppet art an important part of her life. Her beautifully handcrafted marionettes make their way to the small Dreamland Theater stage several times a year.

It’s a labor of love: “My job supports the puppetry,” Venturi says.

This month, just in time for the winter season, Venturi has adapted the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Snow Queen” into a marionette show. The tale, which is broken down into seven stories — chapters, really — centers on a little boy and girl, Gerda and Kay. When the cold-hearted Snow Queen abducts Kay and turns his heart to ice, it’s up to Gerda to save him from a lifetime of sorrow and hate.

Andersen’s fascinating story, told through the intrinsic beauty of Venturi’s keen artistic eye, should make for a magical journey perfect for children of all ages.


At 7 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 11-19, at the Dreamland Theater, 44 Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337.

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