Art form from the north to be performed on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Mall from August 16 to 18.
by Le Diem
- Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre introduces automatic ticketing
The first Vietnam Puppetry Festival will take place on the evenings of August 16 to 18 on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Mall in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, organized by the Sirenis Viet Company with supervision and guidance from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports and the participation of theaters from the south and the north.
The festival will bring the art of puppetry closer to the general public in the south as well as international tourists, contributing to preserving and promoting the unique traditional art form.
A six-meter-tall puppet will be placed on the mall, which is a popular entertainment spot for local people and tourists and features bars, pub, shops and other artistic performances.
The mall will be turned into a giant stage and five small stages for both water and other types of puppetry. The Vietnam Puppet Theater’s performance “Hon Que” will open the festival; a modern show with both water and other puppets. The Phuong Nam Theater, the Hai Phong Puppet Theater, and the Canh Dieu Theatre will also perform.
Other activities include a street parade with puppetry characters, a circus, music, and others.
More than 1,000 disadvantaged children and kids from child sponsorship centers in the city will be invited to the festival and be given scholarships. Organizers will call for donations for the endeavor.
Water puppetry originated in the Red River Delta in Vietnam’s north, where many towns and villages have communal ponds, which were used as the stage when the artform appeared around the 10th century. The villages of Thach That and Dao Thuc in Hanoi and Rach and Nguyen Xa in the nearby provinces of Nam Dinh and Thai Binh are some of the earliest known centers of water puppetry.
Its water stage is the special feature of the artform, differentiating it from every other type of puppetry. The surface of the water is the performance area, while a regular stage, built from bamboo, resembles a traditional village communal house, where villagers gather for important events. It also serves to hide the puppeteers’ control of strings and poles.
Traditionally, water puppetry performances portray the daily life of Vietnamese farmers (cultivating, tending buffalo, and catching fish), communal entertainment (swimming races and dragon dancing), or historical legends (like Le Loi returning the precious sword to the Golden Turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake), with the modest presentations appealing to audiences for centuries.
- puppet festival