Heart of the Beast Theater selling the Avalon Theatre, reducing puppet inventory

Performers participate in the In the Heart of the Beast May Day celebration. (FOX 9)

Citing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater will be selling the Avalon Theatre, the organization's home for the past 33 years.

HOBT is best known for holding an annual May Day celebration and parade in south Minneapolis, which has not been held since 2019. Even before the pandemic, the theatre had been struggling financially.

"We considered every path forward that would put us in the best possible position to live out our mission and carry the important work of the May Day Council into the future," read a statement on HOBT's Facebook page.

HOBT announced Thursday the Board of Directors voted to sell the theatre and begin looking for a new, smaller site, possibly in either Phillips or Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. In this new home, HOBT hopes to follow its vision for a "decentralized" May Day, which entails finding ways to celebrate May Day throughout the year and not just the first Sunday in May.

In addition, HOBT is clearing out its storage warehouse, which contains thousands of the organization's puppets. Puppets are being returned to the artists who made them and some puppets will be preserved at museums. HOBT will keep a small inventory of puppets to continue the group's work moving forward.

The organization also plans to take on a new name as the HOBT starts to embark on this new chapter.

"We have come to these decisions out of a fierce commitment to the power of puppet and mask performance to create new ways forward together with our beloved community," read the statement.