Lockdown Puppet Theatre Keeps Hope and Entertainment Alive in Lakeview

A quiet Lakeview street has been livened by the recent addition of Lockdown Puppet Theater. Matthew Owens (BFA 1985), who has long been a performer and designer in Chicago's art scenecreating naturalistic toys, or "enrichment devices," for the Brookfield Zoo; painting large murals, including one for the old Children's Memorial Hospital; and making puppets for Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestracreated the show to help the neighborhood during the city’s stay-at-home order. From the second-floor balcony of a brick building, Owens features a cast of his 40 puppets to deliver music and comedy to audience memberswearing masks and social distancingwho come to see the free show every Saturday afternoon. “I felt my neighbors were in need of something," Owens explained in a Chicago Tribune article, "So, I made a puppet, just one, and put it in a tree with a spotlight shining on it from my apartment window." Now, it's a full production that provides the highlight of the week for many of his neighbors.