Puppeteers have been bringing to life magical tales of princesses, paupers, genies, and giants to hundreds of youngsters and their parents at Central Park's Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for decades. The company was founded in 1939 as a touring marionette theater and made the Swedish Cottage its headquarters after WWII. It is one of the only public marionette theater companies left in the U.S. — writing (or adapting) the scripts, constructing and costuming the puppets, and designing and producing every show. Popular productions have included Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella Samba.
The Cottage, a model schoolhouse, was built as Sweden's exhibit for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. At the end of the exposition, Frederick Law Olmsted moved the Cottage to its present site in Central Park. It was first used as a tool house but was soon converted into a lunchroom and restroom. In 1947, it became the headquarters of the Parks Department's Traveling Marionette Theatre, and in 1973 it was remodeled to include a permanent stage. Since then, the Cottage has hosted daily marionette shows.
In the fall of 1997, a complete restoration of the building — interior and exterior — was undertaken under the stewardship of the not-for-profit City Parks Foundation; it was rededicated in May 1998. Today visitors can enjoy the whimsical Scandinavian details inside the theater, along with seating for 100 children, central air conditioning, and a larger, state-of-the-art stage for more sophisticated productions. The original Baltic fir exterior was completely refurbished and details such as the second floor balcony were reconstructed. The Cottage can be easily identified by the American and Swedish flags flying from its roof.
Admission And Tickets
Please note: Reservations are required.
Group rates are available for schools and other large groups.
For reservations, group rates, and information on private birthday parties, please call 212-988-9093.
Address: West Side at 79th Street
Cross Streets 79th Street Central Park Enterance
- to 81st St
- to Museum of Nature History
Hours And Additional Info
The Cottage features a unique party room adjacent to the theater that comes equipped with child-size furniture, making it an ideal spot to host your child's next birthday party. The Theatre holds up to 100 people and the party room provides seating for up to 30 children.
NYC.COM'S TOP 10 THEATERS