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Winners of Vietnamese puppeteers competition announced in HaNoi (April 29, 2003)

HA NOI — Artists from around the country have returned home after a five-day festival that aimed to discover who pulls the strings in the nation’s puppetry scene.

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Information, the National Puppetry Festival attracted over 100 puppeteers from six troupes.

The organisers presented 46 prizes to puppeteers from all strands of the art, including water puppetry, conventional puppetry and works combining examples of string puppetry, drama or comedy.

One of the groups that stole the limelight on the final day last Saturdy was the Ha Noi-based Thang Long Puppetry Troupe for Tieng Goi Tre Tho (A Child’s Call) and Hai Phong’s Tre Coc Tranh Con (Frog and Toad Custody Disputes).

The other troupes taking part in the festival came from the UNIMA Centre, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Dac Lac, HCM City and the Central Puppetry Theatre.

The most famous form of Vietnamese puppetry, both at home and overseas, is water puppetry. The genre has a thousand-year history in Viet Nam.

The first royal show was thought to have been staged in 1121, during the Ly Dynasty, when a performance was staged to honour the king’s long life.

A stone carving in the Doi Pagoda in Ha Nam Province bears an inscription that supports this theory.

This remarkable art form was first developed by peasant farmers, who watched the puppet shows for entertainment at the end of their working day in the fields. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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