Welcome to all of you, my fellow friends of puppetry, who are still very much young at heart and are filled with curiosity and excitement time and time again when we see the magic of puppetry in action.
It’s that time again! The 8th International Puppetry Festival “Change of View” is just around the corner and awaiting its enthusiastic audiences. We have invited 35 puppet and marionette theatres form South Africa, France, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Congo, Switzerland and The Netherlands to help turn our city into a puppetry theatre Mecca for a week.
Theatre barely gets more mythical than it does in the realms of puppetry. These myths and legends are filled with energy by childhood experiences that stay with us throughout our lives. In fact, they don’t just stay with us; they are like an addiction, always leading us back to the exact place where we are guaranteed to be filled with a new sense of life. And that’s where we sat, just as we are doing now, and let ourselves be consumed by the magic of puppetry theatre, the object its very fabric. What could be seen as just a piece of inanimate material manages to fill us with laughter and tears, causes us to dream and despair and uses these effects to make everything seem possible in our plays and performances, as if by result of a silent agreement between the artistic function and the audience’s imagination. We are thus consumed by the fine art of puppetry and its one-of-a-kind magical moments. If the audience keeps up its curiosity and avoids misty-eyed reminiscence of times past, this fascination will be renewed time and time again. And it’s all thanks to the continuously-growing art of puppet and marionette theatre, which grants us moments in which we can return to our positive youthful naivety and fall for the on-stage performances and magical locations time and time again.
Nonetheless, those involved in puppet and marionette theatre can also be seen as politically responsible figures in the eyes and interests of the general public, as they eagerly search for new ways to develop and invigorate performing arts. Dedicated and constantly developing, they present their artistic works in the form of serious theatre on a level with social and cultural reality.
This year we will be using the title “Improving our world” to approach a particular aspect of being human among the realities of our globalised world. With this topic we will continue along the lines of the previous festivals themes HOME and HELL & HEAVEN. After all, don’t we all dream of a better world? Better on a large or a small scale? The plans for this better world, which have individual, political, religious and holistic dimensions, are so varied, yet so often rejected. But resignation is the last phase before collapse. So how should we live? How can we be happy? How we can show individuality in a society ruled by its economy, politics, profit race, lust for power and self-destruction? How can we resist or escape this? Do we need a radical change in the concept of society, or just alterations in our lives as individuals? It’s not just the chaos theorists who know about the power of the butterfly effect! And we’re not just dreaming of a better world than ever before! We’re calling for it, asking questions together and looking for the answers. We’re ready!