The Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival Returns Next Month

The festival is scheduled to run from 16th to 25th February 2024 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi and Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh.

By: Jan. 29, 2024
The Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival Returns Next Month
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The Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival is set to captivate audiences once again with its 20th edition. The festival is scheduled to run from 16th to 25th February 2024 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi and Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh. It is produced by Teamwork Arts and is largely supported by the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust. 

Since 2001, the Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival has entertained audiences with artists, puppeteers, and performers from around the globe.

The 20th edition is set to offer an intriguing line-up that will appeal to all age groups. In addition to Indian artists, the festival will feature performers from Brazil, Spain, Korea, Turkey, the USA, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Russia. The festival will include both verbal and non-verbal performances.

Sharing his excitement about the festival, Dadi D. Pudumjee, Festival Director and Founder of The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, said, "It's February, and we are back. Let's laugh, cry, shout, and be happy! Let's celebrate this momentous milestone, 'The 20th Ishara International Puppet Festival,' with the magical world of puppets from Brazil, Spain, Korea, Turkey, the USA, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Russia, and India."

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts and Producer of the Festival, said, “20 years is a landmark occasion. Ishara has changed the way people view the art and theatre of puppetry and puppet-making. Countless artistes and artisans have benefitted from the festival over the years, which has brought together some of the most outstanding productions from across the world.``

At the festival, France will present Wings And Roots, an evocative performance by Fanny Tissot-Giordanna/Compagnie Arketal from National Theatre Nice. Directed by Sylvie Osman, it imparts profound lessons in humanity.

The musical menagerie Air Giants by Pia Fraus is directed by Beto Andretta from Brazil. A Brazilian circus spectacle featuring larger-than-life animals, whimsical characters, and unique performers promises people of all ages an opportunity to stay all day at this 'open-air' circus.

From the USA, The Kurt Hunter Marionettes will be presenting a performance entitled Penguin In My Pocket, directed by Laura Wilhelm. The show is a musical and visual delight for all ages. This performance will highlight the importance of imagination in both the sciences and the arts. It is a one-of-a-kind show which will feature marionettes, rod puppets, audience member puppeteers, and even live concertina music.

Russia’s most famous puppet character will be brought back to life with a celebration of 400 years of tradition. Petrushka, performed by Novosibirsk Regional Puppet Theatre and directed by Svyatoslav Pankov, is a traditional performance that unfolds as short comic vignettes, filled with colourful puppets and foot-tapping music.

Hiss & Arf is a non-verbal performance from Taiwan, presented by Puppet On The Workbench and directed by Mong-Han Liang / Chia-Hao Chen. This delightful show seamlessly blends comedy, wit, and bravura, showcasing traditional Taiwanese glove puppetry techniques. It portrays heartwarming and humorous adventures between an owner and his pets.

Sevincer Puppet Theatre from Turkey will showcase Mucit (Inventor), which is directed by Yalcin Gonenc. Mucit will inspire kids of all ages to dream not just about a career, but also the kind of person they want to grow up to be. 

A captivating journey into Sri Lanka's rich cultural tapestry awaits you with the Traditional String Puppet Show performed by Mango Friends Puppet Society, directed by Indika Gamini. This visually stunning spectacle promises audiences an unforgettable experience. Colourful puppets of diverse shapes and sizes, accompanied by dance and music, harmoniously pay homage to Sri Lanka’s vibrant past and present, ensuring a celebration of grandeur and tradition. In addition to this, Culture Art Bakery FFWANG from Korea will present Hong Dongji & Isimi, directed by Hwang Seokyong, and Trapusteros Teatro from Brazil will captivate the audience with Mamulengo De La Mancha directed by Izabela Brochado.

The Ishara Puppet Theatre Group will present Be Yourself, directed by Dadi D. Pudumjee—an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's The Ugly Duckling. This enchanting puppet play is a delightful and moving experience, weaving a timeless tale with a touch of magic. Each animal puppet character will wear textiles from various regions of India, beautifully illustrating the rich diversity of Indian weavers.

More than a hundred international puppetry groups have already performed at the festival. The list includes the USA, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Afghanistan, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Ireland, Iran, Australia, Netherlands, Hungary, and South Korea.

Each year, audiences from all around the world attend the festival to see both classic and new types of puppetry.  The festival is distinguished by its versatility, which includes rod and string puppets as well as mixed performances incorporating dance, drama, music, and other elements. The Ishara International Puppet Festival has delighted, educated, and empowered both children and adults over the years with award-winning puppetry productions and educational workshops. The festival promises a delightful blend of artistic innovation, cultural richness, and puppetry excellence.