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Santa Monica Puppetry Center closing its doors

August 6, 2009 |  6:29 pm

You would think that working with puppets would save you on payroll expenses, but apparently even puppets need to pay the rent.

Today, the Santa Monica Puppetry Center announced that the economic climate is forcing it to end operations at its current location at 1014 Broadway.

The center, which has operated for nearly 12 years, said it will close its doors after the 2 p.m. matinee performance on Aug. 16.

In a statement, puppeteer Steve Meltzer, who runs the center, said: "We have lasted this long only because of the extreme patience of the property owner who, along with me, continued to believe that we would find ways to survive the loss of revenue from the drop-off in school shows and private parties."   

Meltzer told Culture Monster that the center is $14,000 in arrears in terms of rent, though the landlord is allowing him to stay approximately two weeks longer than originally expected. An accomplished stage and film puppeteer, Meltzer worked as part of the marionette crew on the film "Team America: World Police."

"That helped me out financially for awhile," he said.

The center currently contains close to 500 puppets, the majority of which Meltzer said he will have to put into storage. "I felt puppet theater deserved to have a home. I'm planning to do traveling shows now because I'm still dedicated to performance," he said.

There will be performances at the center every day at 2 p.m. until Aug. 16. In addition there will be performances Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

Check out the above video for a tour of the Santa Monica Puppetry Center.

-- David Ng