İzmir is set to host puppet shows performed by worldrenowned puppeteers from around the world during the İzmir International Puppetry Days festival, which begins tonight and continues until April 6.
The International İzmir Puppet Days, one of the leading puppetry events in the world, will bring together children and adults in an encounter with the colorful world of puppets.
The festival will host 41 puppet theater companies from 23 countries who will showcase their art in shows performed at both open and closed venues across the city. The program also contains a packed agenda of workshops, conferences, exhibitions and puppet competitions between primary schools.
The director of the festival, Selçuk Dinçer, said the festival program would present puppetry shows demonstrating a wide variety of puppetry techniques. “The plays will feature the best examples of the art of puppetry over one month.”
Dinçer said İzmir was well on its way to becoming one of the world’s most important puppet centers.
“We organize one of the world’s largest puppet festivals in İzmir every year. What we have to do now is to pave the way for serious puppetry productions to promote the art of puppetry in İzmir. These efforts will make İzmir a big brand.”
İzmir, which hosts dozens of groups in the field of puppetry and visual arts each year, should take part in events abroad, Dinçer said, adding that they had founded the Puppet Theater and prepared their first play, “Ben Yapmadım” (I Did Not Do It), as a step toward this goal.
The play, directed by Dinçer, will be on stage tonight at the opening ceremony at the Sabancı Culture Palace.
World-famous puppet theater comes to festival
The festival aims to involve as many people as possible from all around the city and therefore includes performances in a range of different settings, including open-air venues, in its show program. This year, the event expects to put on shows for audiences numbering 200,000.
Among the groups participating in the festival is one of the world’s best known theater groups, “Sandglass Theater” of the United States. In “Autumn Portraits,” experienced puppet artist Eric Bass tells the story of each character he brings out onto the stage.
Peru’s “Hugo and Ines,” two important puppeteers who have gained the admiration of millions of spectators by performing numerous plays around the world, will perform for a Turkish audience for the first time. The group explores the possibilities for expression through using different parts of the human body, creating surprising characters with parts of the body such as feet, knees, abdomen, face and elbows.
From Italy, the “Teatro Gioco Vita” will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” based on Shakespeare’s famous comedy. The play, which has inspired numerous artists and works both in theater and in music, has been turned into an extraordinary show by the puppeteers.
Germany’s “Theater Waidspeicher” will present “Romeo and Juliet,” also drawing on one of Shakespeare’s immortal masterpieces. The interactive show stands out in particular thanks to the talented actress Anna Fülle’s skillful manipulation of the puppets, making use of a variety of techniques, including both strings and rods. The performance is bound to treat puppet-lovers to an unforgettable experience, owing to its combination of music, drama and puppetry.
The shows have been designed for adults as well as for children. Over the course of the event, festival-goers will also find the opportunity to attend puppet-making and visual art workshops and seminars. The workshops will be open to children, adults and professionals, who will all have the chance to learn from the world’s most famous names in the field of puppetry.