A holiday with strings attached
If you head down to the British seaside, one of the sights you’re still likely to see is the traditional Punch and Judy show (albeit with the story updated for modern audiences). These puppeteers ply their trade to entertain children and adults alike with colourful figures and stories, whilst keeping alive this great performing and storytelling institution.
Cultures the world over have used puppetry for centuries as a means of entertaining and communicating. Puppet show ideas range from charming folk tales to highly-strung dramas, musicals and comedies and it’s often surprising to see just how much complexity can be achieved.
In celebration of the enchantment wrought by this wonderful art form, puppet festivals have emerged, welcoming performances from global troupes to enlighten and dazzle. In the UK, the largest display of British puppetry talent is held in Beverley, Yorkshire, every two years, with the next event due in July 2016.
The Flexicover Team lists some of the globes best puppet festivals you may wish to check out!
PIF International Puppet Festival, Croatia
When: 14-19th September 2015
This wonderful festival is held every year across the capital, Zagreb, and has grown to be one of the most reputed festivals in a region noted for a strong history of puppet-based storytelling. It began in 1968 as an expression of desire for universal communication – the original requirement was that all plays had to be performed in Esperanto! This puppet festival features plenty of shows, seminars on puppetry, animations and delightful exhibitions, particularly of regional traditions. More than 500 puppet groups from across the world have performed at this festival over the years.
World Puppet Theatre Festival; France
When: 18-27th September 2015
Le Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes is the best and biggest of its kind in the world. Founded in 1961, this biennial festival organises more than 200 shows across ten days with about 250 troupes taking part. Held in Charleville-Mézières in northern France (headquarters of UNIMA, the International Puppetry Association) the World Puppet Festival is attended by over 150,000 spectators. From shows to meetings, exhibitions and more, you can witness all types of puppetry here, from traditional to more contemporary forms and even shadow theatre.
Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival, USA
When: 1st – 12th January 2016
Having only been inaugurated this year, this event has already made its mark as one to look out for. The Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival features various interesting performances ranging from kid-friendly shows to avant-garde adult fare over the course of twelve days, as well as a symposium on the key issues in puppetry. The festival welcomes international performers from around the world as well as showcasing local talent, with ten Chicago theatre companies having performed this year. After a stellar response in 2015, the festival is sure to start 2016 in dazzling fashion with its second edition.
Ishara International Puppet Festival; India
When: 5-15th February 2016 (provisional dates)
Puppetry is an ancient art form in India and the surrounding region, having started around 1000 BCE. Indian traditions are believed to have influenced many others, including Javanese Wayang, as well as having unique forms like Tholpavakoothu, a shadow style from Kerala. This year, the 13th Ishara International Puppet Festival featured performances from more than 100 theatre companies from India and across the world. All types from rod to string puppet performances as well as mixed arts events blending puppetry, music, dance and theatre are showcased in this festival!
Mukamas International Puppet Theatre Festival, Finland
When: 9-14th May 2016
Held in Tampere in southern Finland every two years, the Mukamas International Puppet Theatre Festival is another popular one in the global puppetry calendar and the biggest puppetry festival in the country. It aims to showcase some uniquely Finnish storytelling as well as international works. This celebration of arts brings to the stage the best of the best and is considered to be one of the main developers of Finnish puppet theatre. There is a strong ethos of not only entertainment but education as well, with exhibitions and workshops all about the medium offered alongside the performances.
Whether you’re going to a puppet festival in 2015 or hoping to attend one in the coming year, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.