String theory

With master puppeteers from Australia, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland and many other countries, the Ishara International Puppet Theatre festival, which is in its 10th edition, will keep the audience engaged with their package of interesting stories and characters from different lands

If you thought puppetry included traditional dolls on rods and strings, a visit to this festival is bound to ensure a rethink.

With puppets, actors, dancers, paintings and much more, the 10th edition of the Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival, will showcase different forms and techniques of puppetry in traditional and contemporary styles, with the promise of holding the audience spellbound with mesmeric stories from different lands.

Puppet talk
Dadi Pudumjee, who is one of the leading puppeteers of India, started the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust in 1986 and in 2001, collaborated with Teamworks Productions for the first international puppet festival.

A Package For Granny by the Sydney Puppet Theatre, Gone With The Feet by Teatro dei Piedi from Italy

Speaking about how his love for puppeteering began, he says, "I am from Pune. I studied at the National Institute of Design in 1971 and puppeteering interested me. I have been a professional puppeteer since 1976."

Over the years, puppetry is becoming popular and more people want to become puppeteers, he believes. "Since 2001, puppetry has always had an audience. But, it is being more appreciated, these days," he says. In the last 10 years, puppeteers from 17 countries have toured India to participate in this festival.
Apart from India, you can look out for acts from USA, Germany, Iran, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Israel, Australia, Italy, Bulgaria and Ireland. The festival is being held in Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai. The three-day festival in the city begins from today.

The world is here
"Different countries have different traditional styles of puppetry. We have a huge mix of traditional and modern styles at this festival. Asia, China and South-East Asia have the strongest roots of the traditional arts. Today, there are many revived traditions as well," says Dadi.

Ask him how the festival differs every year, and he reveals, "We get different groups and each director treats his presentation, differently.

I use actors, dancers, artworks, music or even a digital animation projector for a contemporary style of puppetry. Some directors stick to the traditional form while others take the modern route," adds Dadi.

The Mumbai chapter of the festival will witness presentations titled Oh Rats and A Package For Granny by the Sydney Puppet Theatre, Chick With A Trick by Pro Rodopi Art Centre from Bulgaria and Gone With The Feet
by Laura Kibel and Teatro dei Piedi from Italy.

ON Today, till January 16, 6.30 pm
At Little Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
CALL 22824567 / 66223724

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