European and Asian puppet theatre in a fever of discovery. Special festival programme

Fidena 2016: Vietnamesisches Wassermarionetten-Theater aus Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt, Foto: Enrique Lanz

Western interest in Asian cultures not only introduces strange, foreign symbols into our culture. “What we can strive for in the Orient,” writes Roland Barthes, is “a difference, a mutation, a revolution in the character of the symbolic systems.” In the case of puppet theatre, the encounter with Asian theatre forms offers viewers the chance to discover one’s roots; the oldest examples of this art form were developed in Asia. The variety of expressive forms ranges from Indian shadow and hand puppet theatre, to Vietnamese water marionette theatre to Japanese Bunraku which features almost life-size puppets. European puppeteers are becoming increasingly fascinated with these ancient performance traditions. At the same time, young theatre artists from India and China have been visiting Europe regularly for years and studying the history and aesthetics of puppet theatre traditions here. This mutually infectious enthusiasm has been the theme of the special programme “Influenza” at the Bochum “Puppet Theatre of the Nations” festival in 2016. It invited representatives of traditional performance methods as well as European and Asian cross-over projects which have been influenced by the other’s cultures. The programme also included several workshops and discussions which addressed the influence of European and Asian theatre language on contemporary puppet theatre. A documentary film programme portrayed the beauty, but also the imminent loss of performance traditions which are passed down orally.

Artistic director: Annette Dabs
Artists: Pavakathakali (IN), Tolu Bommalatta (IN), Anurupa Roy (IN), Thanglong Water Puppet Theatre (VN), Papermoon Puppet Theatre (ID), Die Retrofuturisten (D), Ariel Doron (ISR), , Antje Töpfer (D), Karin Schäfer (AT), Yui Kawaguchi & Yoshimasa Ishibashi (J/D)


Deutsches Forum für Figurentheater und
Puppenspielkunst e.v.

Hattinger Straße 467

44795 Bochum (external link, opens in a new window)