Puppet Theater now open in chinatown

Puppeteer Nick Knave recently opened The Puppet Box at Chinatown Artists Lofts, and his debut show, Wolfie’s Puppet Party, runs Friday-Sunday through Oct. 9.

“It’s a cabaret-style show with three or four stories and a handful of songs, hosted by Wolfie,” Knave explains.

It features fairy tales, special effects, jazz and rock music, and more. Plus, it’s got a set of rotating stories, so you’ll see a different show if you come for repeat viewings.

Wolfie’s Puppet Party is an adaptation of a performance that Knave first developed while living on the streets in San Francisco as a teenager.

“I would hang out in front of the dive bars with sock puppets and cassette tapes — this was the ‘90s — and perform,” he recalls.

“It was like a non-job, like ha-ha I can get by without 9-to-5-ing,” he says. “But then as I kept doing it, I really started to like it.”

Over time, he also realized that it wasn’t just something that he enjoyed — but audiences were responding to his work as well.

Knave with Wolfie


“I would perform in the subway, and I would have a really amazing cross-section of homeless people and kids and businessmen and subway workers and everybody would be standing together watching,” Knave recalls. “I realized that it was a really great equalizer.

“For a lot of kids, I am sort of their first experience of live theater,” he adds. “A lot of kids are kind of stunned when they wave at one of the puppets, and the puppet says hi — sometimes they’re terrified, but most of the time they are delighted.”

Nick Knave at work in his studio

Nick Knave at work in
his studio

Knave currently is in the process of building out his theater, but when he does, The Puppet Box is set to host a larger repertoire of shows. Also slated to take the stage in coming months is Brujeria’s Credenza of Eeriness (Friday-Sunday Oct. 15- 30), featuring a handful of spooky stories, and Isabel’s Zombie Holocaust (Friday- Sunday Dec. 8-24), which is about a little girl who wakes up one night to find herself in the midst of a zombie attack. In November, he also plans to start a bi-monthly movie series for adults that’s hosted, of course, by a puppet.

Overall, Knave hopes that The Puppet Box can be “an avenue for something fun, something different.”

“I am offering an alternative for people like myself, who is a late-night guy, but doesn’t necessarily want to go hang out at a bar, who enjoys weird stuff and likes to have my brain tickled a little,” Knave says.

The Puppet Box is located at 1116 Smith St., in loft 209 of the Chinatown Artists Lofts. Wolfie’s Puppet Party runs at 11 a.m., and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and Oct. 7-9, and is open to all ages. Tickets cost $7. The show also is slated to run again Nov. 11-20. For more information, visit nickknave.com.