PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Moller


Animated Objects… also, more widely know as Puppets, are the great equalizer. They arouse our curiosity and suspend our judgement. They open our minds and allow us to see things from a different perspectives.

Breathing life into the inanimate and giving expression to the inert the Festival of Animated Objects brings world-class artists to engage and entertain audiences of all ages; arousing our collective imaginations and opening us up to new worlds and new ideas through the innovative and sophisticated art of storytelling through mask, puppetry and animated objects.

From puppet shows to film screenings, gallery exhibitions to workshops, for 5-days and nights Calgary comes alive with original creations, mythical creatures, and curious beasts, objects and gadgets, and thingamajigs beguiled by puppet-masters and artists alike to stir your imagination. 


The International Festival of Animated Objects Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting mask & puppet related performance. As an incubator and producer of mask, puppetry, and animated objects we are the primary curator and presenter of local, national and international puppetry. We strive to provide Alberta audiences with the chance to experience the breadth and diversity of these innovative art forms.

Vital to the development of puppetry as an art form, the festival not only provides a stage for Alberta creators to showcase their work but is also a forum for an international exchange of ideas providing learning opportunities for professional and emerging artists and the public at large to find expression through animated objects.

Our Mandate is:

  • To present dynamic international artists of puppetry and mask to the public of Calgary and surrounding areas in all areas of performance and film /media
  • To support and present the local puppet and mask artists of Calgary and surrounding areas in all areas of puppetry and film / media
  • To foster and support innovation in puppetry and mask
  • To invigorate the community and create interest in all areas of puppet and mask related art
  • To make mask and puppet related art accessible to the entire community of Calgary and surrounding areas


The Festival Of Animated Objects was founded by mask and puppet artist Xstine Cook out of a desire to bring wondrous, life-changing puppet and mask work to Calgary audiences, and to create opportunities for local artists to develop and present their work.

With the mentorship and support of Michael Green and the High Performance Rodeo, Xstine Cook, in her role as Co-Artistic Director of Green Fools Theatre, produced the inaugural month-long Festival of Animated Objects in January of 2002.

From the moment of it’s birth the festival has been evolving. The second edition of the festival found the support of the newly created Calgary Animated Objects Society (CAOS) which it co-produced with the Green Fools Theatre.

The third Festival of Animated Objects, in 2007, saw Xstine Cook, under the auspices of CAOS, acting as the sole curator and producer. For the next seven years, through Xstine’s thoughtful programming and dedication the festival grew to become an integral part of Alberta’s cultural landscape. Providing regional audiences with the chance to experience the breadth and diversity of mask, puppetry and animated objects; while providing local, national and international artists an opportunity to participate in an artistic exchange of ideas.

Xstine realized that for the festival to continue to thrive as a vital and dynamic event within our community it would need a dedication and focused leadership staff whose sole objective was the success of the festival. To that end, Xstine enlisted the support of the members of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and together they created the International Festival of Animated Objects Society.

March 13, 2019 will launch the 9th edition of the Festival of Animated Objects.

Xstine Cook – Photo by Sean Dennie


January 2002: The 1st Edition

This month-long event was Produced by Xstine Cook in her role as founder and Co-Artistic Director of Green Fools Theatre. It came to life with the mentorship and support of Michael Green and The High Performance Rodeo.

January 2005: The 2nd Edition

Co-produced by Green Fools Theatre and the newly formed Calgary Animated Objects Society (CAOS). Curated by Xstine programming included such highlights as Ronnie Burket, and Daniel Barrows, TV legend Frank Meschkuleit, and Czech troupe Cakes and Puppets.

January 2005: The 2nd Edition

Co-produced by Green Fools Theatre and the newly formed Calgary Animated Objects Society (CAOS).  C

January 2007: The 3rd Edition

Produced solely by CAOS. Xstine curated an ambitious 10-days that including work from Archer Pechawis, The Chiodo Brothers (Team America, World Police), Mooky Cornish, ‘Ksan Performing Arts, Paul Zaloom, Faustwork Mask Theatre, JB First Lady.

January 2009: The 4th Edition

Featured Crawdaddy, a freak show collaboration between CAOS, Dell’Arte and Playhouse Arts. Other highlights included Torbjorn Alstrom, Big Sky Multimedia Storytelling, Alice Nelson and Axis Theatre Company.

March 2011: The 5th Edition

The Festival moves from January to March in order to collaborate with our sister, Festival de Casteliers in Montreal. A collaboration that resulted in a presentation by the Netherland’s Stuffed Puppet Theatre. Other highlights included productions by The Wonderheads, Humble Wonder Theatre, and and Dockteaterverkstan to name a few.

March 2013: The 6th Edition

Aside from a host of work from Canada, Xstine Cook curated mind-blowing shows from around the world including the work of Mexico’s Astrid Hadad, the U.K.’s Shona Reppe Puppets, France’s Compagnie Non Nova, and Phillip Huber, Paul Zaloom, and Heather Hensen’s Handmade Puppet Dreams from the United States, and Holland/Montreal collaborative Co Hoedeman Retrospective.

March 2015: The 7th Edition

Xstine Curated 9 days of incredible work featuring Yael Rasooly and Yaara Goldring/Hazira Performance Art Arena, Magali Chouinard, Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Alice Nelson, Mooky Cornish, Sandra Lamouche Dance Company, The Bum Family, Handmade Puppet Dreams, and Xstine Cook herself.

May 2015

The birth of the International Festival of Animated Objects Society.

March 2017: The 8th Edition

See you there.


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