September 20, 2017

Marionette festival aims to raise public interest in traditional folk arts

Puppetry has traditionally been one of Myanmar’s most popular folk arts and is commonly performed at pagoda festivals.

Marionette troupes perform at traditional puppet show in Mandalay. Photo: supplied by Daw Ma Ma Naing
Marionette troupes perform at traditional puppet show in Mandalay. Photo: supplied by Daw Ma Ma Naing

THE Myanmar-International Marionette Festival will be held in Mandalay next April with the aim of raising public interest in the traditional folk arts. The festival will feature a variety of educational and entertainment programmes, an organiser said.
The event is scheduled to run on 2 and 3 April at the National Theatre in Mandalay and will be implemented by Myanmar Upper Land and its partner organisations.
The festival also supports the development of marionette troupes around Myanmar through information exchanges with international puppeteers, said U Kyaw Myo Ko, managing director of Myanmar Upper Land.
He added that the festival is a part of the Myanmar Marionette Development Programme, which is primarily funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. He said there are plans to hold a similar event in Yangon concurrently with the Mandalay event.
Marionette troupes from Myanmar, Germany and Indonesia will take part in the event, with the organisers planning to invite marionette troupes from other ASEAN countries.
Puppet shows, workshops, panel discussions, art exhibitions and a photo gallery will also be open during the two-day festival.
String puppets, which are popular souvenirs among foreigners, will be on sale during the event, said U Kyaw Myo Ko, who plans to publish a book about the history of puppetry in Myanmar in the coming months.
Once a popular form of entertainment around Myanmar, puppetry is practiced by very few people in the country today. At present, around 20 professionals remain in the field.

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