Columbia Marionette Theatre – Columbia, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

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Columbia Marionette Theatre

One of few remaining marionette theatres in the United States that still conducts regular shows. 


The Columbia Marionette Theatre is truly a unique attraction. Housed in a colorful castle-like building, this theater is one of the few physical puppet theaters in the United States that has regular shows. In fact, the building was built specifically to be a puppet theater and accommodate a roomy 30-foot stage. 

The Columbia Marionette Theatre (CMT) was founded in 1988 by Allie Scollon and her son John Scollon, who now serves as the theater’s Executive Director. CMT moved into its custom castle building in 1995 where shows are still performed today.

The theater is near Riverfront Park and within the downtown Columbia area. 

Although it’s called the Columbia Marionette Theatre, the shows often feature several different puppetry styles. Each show features hand-made puppets, hand-crafted and painted props and sets, original music, and local vocal talent. Esteemed puppeteer Lyon Hill is the theater’s Artistic Director, often working behind the scenes in the theater’s on-site workshop.

See a one of a kind show, and take photos with the many marionette puppets on display.

Know Before You Go

The shows are 45 minutes long. Arrive 10-15 minutes early to secure better seats, as seating is first come first serve.

Performed by accomplished puppeteers and dedicated puppeteers in training. Plentiful free parking in the lot and overflow parking in the grass across the street. 

There are shows every Saturday at 11 am and 3 pm. Each show is designed to be about 45 minutes long, so this unique experience won't eat up too much of your time.

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October 12, 2022

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