The Santa Monica Puppetry Center is closing its doors after more than a dozen years in three locations as a result of the economic downturn.

The puppetry center, 1014 Broadway, Santa Monica, has scheduled a final performance of its variety puppet show Puppetolio! at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 16th.

Steve Meltzer, puppet maker, producer and writer at the puppetry center who performs with his puppet Fred Mingo, credited the support of the facility’s current property owner as the reason the center has stuck around through difficult times.

“We have lasted this long only because of the extreme patience of the property owner who, along with me, continued to believe that we would find ways to survive the loss of revenue from the drop off in school shows and private parties,” Meltzer said.

“We are very sorry about this development but also very grateful for the long run we’ve had and all the wonderful audience members who make me feel that I have the greatest job in the world.

In a previous interview with The Argonaut, Meltzer explained that he makes every puppet himself in the center’s workshop. His work has appeared in film and television shows including Heroes, Married With Children, Blind Date, and Good Day, L.A.

Meltzer also offered a workshop at the center which specialized in the creation, repair and restoration of marionettes and ventriloquist figures.

Plans for the future of the puppet collection are pending, says Meltzer, adding that Puppetolio! will now be a traveling show.

The Santa Monica Puppetry Center will have daily shows through August 16th. Show times through closing day August 16th are scheduled at 2 p.m. each day and 10:30 a.m. Thursday, August 13th. Tickets are $7.50. Shows are suggested for all ages, three and up.

Information, (310) 656-0483, or www.puppetolio.com/.

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