The International Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières celebrates its 21st edition

21 05 2021


Press release

The International Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières celebrates this year its 21st edition. A particular one since it is also its 60th anniversary. The International Puppet Institute is established since 1981 in Charleville-Mézières and will celebrate its 40th anniversary, while the Great Puppeteer, this 10-meter-tall automaton which comes alive hourly, will blow out its 30 candles.

In September 2019, 170 000 visitors came to the festival for its 20th edition!

One of its kind in the world, the Festival has combined for sixty years artistic requirement and spirit of conviviality. This artistic and culturally atypical event welcomes every two years a diversity of aesthetics, forms and cultures. All enthusiasts meet at the festival: artists, creators, professional and amateur puppeteers, regular or occasional audience of all ages and backgrounds.

World capital of the puppet art, Charleville-Mézières will host the International Puppet Theatre Festival’s 21st edition from the 17th to the 26th of September. Created by Jacques Félix in 1961 and directed by Pierre-Yves Charlois since 2020, the festival extends the cultural influence of its territory and has settled around the world as the main event for the artists and the aficionados of this art.

This year the festival will welcome 85 artistic teams, 29 of which will come for the first time at the festival and will present about 350 performances.

Variety of forms

Constantly researching for the variety of forms and the artistic quality, the festival develops new themes within its program: “new magics” with Etienne Saglio, Groupe Zur, Yôkaï, Silences et songes, Jan Jedenak; “cabaret and curiosities ” with Johanny Bert, Sinking Ship, Kompagnie 1/10, Big up, Yael Rasooly, Méandres, Théâtre d’Illusia; “performance and material” with Rafi Martin, Placement libre, Olivier de Sagazan, Ytuquepintas, Collectif Kahraba.

Three generations

Three puppeteers’ generations are together for this year’s programme including the inescapable “pioneers” Emilie Valantin, Théâtre du Mouvement, Turak, Neville Tranter or Ilka Schönbein but also their “heirs” such as Renaud Herbin, Les Anges au Plafond, trois six trente ou Gare Centrale, until the “nouvelle vague” with Lou Simon, Laura Elands and Yoann Pencolé.

Still an international event

The festival gathers european and international companies coming from 16 countries with Jan Jedenak (Germany), Osobnyak Theater (Russia), Sinking Ship Productions (United-States), Yael Rasooly (Israel), Rafi Martin (France-Germany), Collectif Kahraba (Lebanon), Ytuquepintas (Spain), Compagnie Gare Centrale (Belgium), Neville Tranter - Stuffed Puppet Theater (Netherlands), Katkatha Puppets Arts Trust (India), Compagnie Belova - Iacobelli (Belgium - Chile), T’Magisch Theatertje (Netherlands), Duda Paiva Company (Netherlands), Théâtre de l’Heure Bleue (Belgium), Sayeh Sirvani (France-Iran), Maribor Puppet Theatre (Slovenia).

Performances for all ages

An opulent and ambitious programme is presented for all ages, particularly this year towards the youngest audience, with the project of companies such as AMK, la Soupe, Méandres, Mecanika, Maribor, Graine de vie. The festival pays a special attention to the early childhood by welcoming Les ballets du nord, S’appelle reviens, La Main d’œuvres, Le vent des forges.

The festival is organized by the association Les Petits Comédiens de Chiffons, subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Grand Est Region, the county council of the Ardennes, the town of Charleville-Mézières and Ardenne Métropole. The Festival thanks all its public and private partners and its many volunteers.