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“Cinderella” is put on by puppeteers in an unlikely venue

on December 6, 2010

For some, the holiday season starts with the first snowfall, or the lighting of a tree.  But at Uptown Body and Fender on 26th Street, a new tradition may be taking shape: an elaborate puppet show performance of the fairy tale “Cinderella.”

The show, which is performed by a team of puppeteers and technicians from Oakland’s Zanzibar Fairytale Puppet Theater, is now in its third year, and its second in Oakland.  In Zanzibar’s retelling of the classic story, Cinderella meets her Prince Charming at a ball on Christmas Eve, giving the show’s organizers the perfect excuse to decorate the Uptown body shop with strings of lights and a large, colorful Christmas tree.  And after the puppets and their masters take their last bow, the audience is joined by Santa Claus himself, who on Saturday happily discussed the prospect of incoming presents with interested boys and girls.

Rather than with strings, Zanzibar’s puppets are controlled with poles from beneath their stage.  The company’s five puppeteers steer a total of 22 puppets over the course of the show’s 35 minutes.

“We really wanted to put it on like an actual stage show, said Theo Dawson, Zanzibar’s owner, who co-wrote the script and made all the puppets’ costumes.  “There’s not too much else like this.”

Zanzibar Fairytale Puppet Theater’s production of “Cinderella” runs Saturdays and Sundays, at 2 and 4 p.m., from now until December 26, at Uptown Body and Fender, 401 26th Street, Oakland.  Tickets cost $12.  For more information, please visit Zanzibar’s website:

Click the audio player to hear from the cast of the puppet version of “Cinderella.”


  1. Red on December 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Cinderella was my favorite fairy tale growing up. And I really enjoy puppet shows.

    Let’s hear it for puppets!

  2. […] Cinderella in a unique theater space — an auto body shop! (Check out Oakland North’s previous coverage here.) More information about show times and tickets […]

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