Puppets come to French Ardennes for the 20th World Puppet Theatre Festival
The Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes [World Puppet Theatre Festival] is an unmissable event for amateurs and professionals alike and took place from 20 to 29 September 2019 in Charleville-Mézières.
Created in 1961 by the "Les Petits Comédiens de Chiffons" association, the festival is the biggest puppeteer gathering in the world. For 10 days, over 100 companies come from five continents to put on 440 shows — 52 of them French and international premieres — in around thirty locations.
In 2019, the special guest artists are director Claire Dancoisne from Théâtre la Licorne and the American puppeteer Basil Twist. Characterised by innovation and a desire to develop this art form, the festival is also focusing on two themes dear to the Ardennes:
- puppets and poetry, with installations and experimental laboratories at La Maison des Ailleurs (home of famous Ardennes poet Arthur Rimbaud)
- puppets and new technology, with the European NAPP (Numeric's Art Puppetry Project) project
The Place des Anges opening performance by the "Gratte Ciel" company will turn Place Ducale into a lyrical space with aerial displays, images and songs.
As the world capital of puppetry and the home of the UNIMA [International Puppetry Association], Charleville-Mézières uses the festival to celebrate the art form. Many puppeteers have also trained at the ESNAM [National School of Puppetry Arts] in Charleville-Mézières, including Basil Twist: one of this year's special guest artists.
The festival showcases the full diversity and the artistic, poetic and technological prowess of the ancient art of puppetry. In 2017, it had over 75,000 audience members (70% inside venues), generating a windfall of almost 5 million euros for French Ardennes region.
By Ardennes Développement, the Ardennes economic development agency - ardennes-developpement.com