2012 World Puppet Carnival / Almaty - Kazakhstan 

Copyright © World Puppet Carnival. All rights reserved. 


1. Central State Academic Puppet theatre  “Sergey Obraztsov” Moscow,  Russia “Extraordinary  Concert”  

2.Ahsap Cerceve Puppet Theatre Istanbul, Turkey “Hamlet”

3. Teatro La Gorda Azul Santa Fe, Argentina “Odisea”

4. Teatro de la Plaza San Paulo, Brasil “Mago por Casualidad”

5. State Puppet Theatre Sliven, Bulgaria “The Love of Three Oranges”

6. Theatre Poupees {k}rinkees Montreal, Canada “Punzelle”

7. Teatro National de GUIÑOL La Habana, Cuba “Canturia en Clave de Titeres”

8. Shadow Theater Christodoulos A. Paphios Nicosia, Cyprus “Karagiozis”

9. Theater Artistic House The National Troupe of Heritage Cairo, Egypt “Fishing Dreams”

10. Theatre Jose Navarro Lima, Peru  “Animalia”

11.  The Complet Mandingo Lyon, France “The Mobile Bafaton’s Orchestra”

12. Theater Sylvia Barth Berlin, Germany “Butterflies”

13. Visual Puppet Theatre “Prassein Aloga” Athens, Greece “Sugarkneaded”

14. Mike Puppet Show Budapest, Hungary  “Circus Bear”

15.  Vinod Bhatt and Party Jaipur, India “Rajastan Puppet Show”

16.  Aban 27  Theater Tehran, Iran “Dream Trip”

17. The Key Theater Tel Aviv, Israel “Baron Munchausen”

18. Compagnia degli Sbuffi Napoli, Italia “Sea Parade”

19. Gulliver – State Puppet Theatre Kurgan City, Russia “Capricio, double with Cream”

20. Brujerias de Papel Mexico city, Mexico “Blesseds”

21. Teatrul Municipal de Marionete Chişinău, Moldova “Marionetes Show”

22. Ananda Puijk Company Maastricht, Netherlands „momentum“

23. Pia Fraus Theatre Sao Paulo,  Brasil “Bichos  do Brasil”

24. Grupa Teatralna Te-O-Ka Wroclaw, Poland “Abbot”

25. Theatre Gulliver Galati, Romania “Magic’s Marionettes”

26. Mascots and Puppets Singapore, Singapore “Streets of Singapore”

27. Maribor Puppet Theatre Maribor, Slovenia Proces – Franz Kafka

28. Jordi Bertran Company Barcelona, Spain “The Hole in the Hat”

29. Domia Production Tunis, Tunisia ”Visages de mon Pays”

30. Theatre Tiyatrotem Istanbul, Turkey “Lahana Sarma”

31. Theatre “Bavka” Uzhgorod,  Ukraine “Nedotepa iz Vertepa”

32. Theatre Temoin Teddington, United Kingdom “The Fantasist”

33. Accion Creativa Maracaibo, Venezuela “Cuentos, Ibaibai, Akujalla, Dehe, Cuentos”

34. Brest Puppet Theatre Brest, Belarus “The Story of the Horse”

35. Theater Avilys Vilnius,  Lithuania “The Princess and the Swineherd”

36. Armadillo Puppet Teatro Quetzaltenango, Guatemala “Ixquic and the Tree of Life”

37. Purple Capsicum Puppets Avoca Tasmania, Australia “Ronald Presents”

38. YUKI PUPPET WORKS Kamakura-shi, Japan ”PP THEATRE (Theatre for One)”

39. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Ha Noi, Vietnam “Vietnam in Puppets”

40. Henson Company Hollywood, USA “Celebration of Flight”

41. La Negra Maria Teatro Santiago, Chile “Latino Show”

42. Marionette Theatre Bojan Baric Veikkola, Finland “The Visit of the Marionettes”

43. Yase Tamam Theatre Tehran, Iran "The Earth and Universe”

44. Nevma Theatre Athens, Greece “Lemonia”

45. Theatre des Tarabates Binic, France "Polichinelle"

46. S.A. Marionetas – Teatro & Bonecos Alcobaça, Portugal "Dom Roberto" and "Etc."

47. UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television Los Angeles, USA “Yellow Submarine”

48. Companhia Marimbondo Lousa, Portugal “Circo Maximo”

49. MONIGOTES & MONIFATOS Mexico city, Mexico "El Guerrero Terrible"

50. DNA Puppetry & Visual Theatre Co. Perth, Australia “Change of the Heart”

51. PEPADI – Indonesian Puppeteers Association Jakarta, Indonesia Wayang  show “The Battle of Love”

52. Makhampom Theatre Group Bangkok, Thailand “Kankan Naga Tan”

53. Kkachidong Theatre Company Jeonju-shu - Jeollabuk-do, South Korea "Dongdongdong-Redbean Grandma"

54. Troupe Feminine de Marionnettes Bovam Lome, Togo “Le Tresor de Koffi”


56. Kabare Pupala Berlin, Germany “Little Pig Henry”

57. Theatre Puppet, Shadow and Actors "REFLECTION" Moscow, Russia "The Star Child"

58. Teatro Los Claveles Murcia, Spain “Little Red Riding Hood”

59. String Bean Puppets Raumati, New Zealand “The Mermaid’s Song”

60. Puppets Amongus Tucson,  Arizona USA “El Sueño de Frida”

61. Handspring  Puppet Company Cape Town, South Africa “Ouroboros”

62. Circo Poeira Theatre San Paulo, Brazil "Circo Poeira Show"


1.HTW OO Myanmar Traditional Puppet Theatre  Yangon, Myanmar “Traditional Puppet Show”

2. Puca Puppets Dublin, Ireland “Coraline”

3. Manicomio de Munecos Medelin, Colombia “Amigo Pichudo”

4. Pygmeteatern Stokholm,Sweden “The Middle of the Night”

5. Anino Shadow Play Collective Manila, Philipiness “The Old Love Story”

6. Michael Huber Theatre Liestal, Switzerland “Lunchenen”

7. Theatre Paralamano Sucre, Bolivia “Indian story”

8. Zgang Zhou Puppet Troupe Fujian, China “China Puppet Show”

9. Theatre Vlinders and Co Beveren, Belgium “Valentino”

10. Kabuki-za Theatre Tokyo, Japan “Kabukiza”


Screening the world's best puppet films

"Don Quixote" - USA - France  

“Faust “-  USA  

“Far Away from Ural” - Finland  

“Promised Paradise” - Netherlands - Indonesia  

“The Book of the dead” - Japan  

“Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy” -  Italy  

“The Tailor kiss” - Portugal  

“The Ferryman” and His Wife - Australia  

“The Narrative of Victor” - USA  

"Hooray for Hollywood", Puppet(R)Evolution - England



The best new short puppet film collection from Heather Henson  Project


“ORTEKE” – Traditional Kazakh Puppetry for Carnival guests By the best Puppet Masters from Kazakhstan



"PUPPETRY: THEN AND NOW" An Illustrated Lecture Presentation By Mari Boyd, Professor of Theatre, Sophia  University, Tokyo Japan.


By Jerry Bickel

Michael Huber Theatre Liestal, SWITZERLAND


The Circus Train arrived on stage in the dark of night. Children in the audience were quick to notice and put away their phones and toys. They knew no simple computer game would be as much fun as this puppet show!   You could hear the locomotive pump. It was the heartbeat of circus life. It made me think about reality and circus life. I felt the weight of the world on the puppet characters backstage in contrast to the lightness I hoped to feel from effervescent circus acts.   Act One was the set up of the Big Top and daily chores. Before the show the performers were simple workers and not yet stars. With the tent up and the circus ring set, the children in the audience were ready for the show—but the feature star was not quite ready for her entrance.   In Act Two we watched the performers: Mr. Sledgehammer the Crew Boss, the Paper Bag Ring Master and the Circus Glove Clowns. Specialty acts included dogs and jugglers. Then we were ready for the star of the show: the Trapeze Ballerina. (She was a wonderful puppet controlled by magnetic strings!)   The clown’s low comedy had showed us the grittiness of reality. But circus magic was not yet done. As Trapeze star spun circles around and round our spirits soared. The audience applauded but the show went on. Backstage life transcended reality. Through the magic of the circus the lame learned to walk.

Theatre Reflection Moscow, RUSSIA


"Dreams of Venice” was an over-the-top cabaret filled with more tricks and transformations that I can remember. Many puppet styles, musical formats, quick costume change, and good performers kept the show fresh.   At Carnival everything is not what it seems. The lowly becomes great. The rich becomes poor. There is freedom in thought and action. The performers wore carnival masks that symbolized this duality. Two Harlequin characters lead the performance assisted by a comic servant. This spirit of freedom allowed them to stage various numbers that jumped musical styles and theatrical techniques. They did not try for cohesion, they delivered entertainment. Everything was in movement.   We often hear of shows that feature puppets and magic. And that is what you usually get, first puppets and then magic. This show truly merged the two genres. Magic tricks became puppet illusions. We saw puppets beheaded and clothing turned into butterflies. Volunteers from the audience became performers and children became magicians.   The show's fast pace and loud music denied the audience a chance to reflect on what they were seeing. They could only enjoy now and think later. That’s carnival and this was cabaret.

Almaty State Puppet Theatre  Almaty, KAZAKHSTAN


Precision of theatrical technique was obvious everywhere in the theater’s opening dinner variety program. Performed by the Almaty State Puppet Theatre, Producer of the Festival and a Non-juried Event, we were treated to see a program of musical numbers that represented Kazakhstan’s culture. Rich in tradition from Russian, Turkish and Mongolian groups, we saw sensuous belly dancers, dancing cassocks, and Kazack singers. The performers were choreographed with attention to both puppet and puppeteer group body movement.  Sometimes the beautiful and elaborate puppets performed above a wall-sometimes the puppeteers moved out front and became a human wall-able to sway with the emotions of the featured character. Multiple chorus puppets displayed precision dancing. Then the stage caught fire when a miraculous puppet of Michael Jackson made a surprise appearance and danced on stage. He was a brilliant creation alive in form and movement. The program ended with a lusty fem fatale’ charming her way into the hearts of the men on stage.   The performance passed to quickly and we looked on wanting more. We were sad for this end, but as the week went on we were inspired by more and more of the Almaty State Puppet Theatre puppets and programs.

Teatrul Colibri Craiova, ROMANIA

presents PINOCCHIO

A variety of puppet styles were used in a full stage setting. Gepetto’s puppet shop was very poor compared to Stromboli’s rich puppet theatre. As often happens in society, it’s the artist that gets the least and management the most.   There was fun interaction between Gepetto and the log of wood he hoped to carve into a puppet--if he could get his hands on it. The tree must have been a piece of Slippery Elm because it shot out of Gepetto’s grasp, jumped into the air and sailed back and forth before Gepetto caught it by a long branch. The log became Pinocchio and the long branch his nose. It was a fun puppet moment.   Despite having a good heart, Pinocchio was not a nice puppet. He seemed like Mr. Punch swinging his cudgel and beating people with it. Even Gepetto was a victim to bruising. Pinocchio was a bad puppet and had to be sent to school. Candlewick was an energetic dancer, the Fox a masked seductress, the Cat a wonderful black leather greaser, and the Whale a giant projected animation. The production mixed their table top Pinocchio puppet with the assorted characters and presented a more modern interpretation of the classic tale.

Theatre Jose Navarro London, UK  PERU

presents A LA CARTE Theatre

Jose Navarre is the work of one man exploring what he can discover in the world of puppetry. His variety performance format allowed him to show us a number of individual puppet vignettes. And as it turns out, each vignette was performed by a different type or style of puppet as well. Taking my seat I saw a pile of clothes lying on the floor. When the moment was right the clothes came alive and performed hand stand tricks. In other vignettes we met a plastic bag ballerina, finger puppet dancers and little ghosts with beady eyes. Jose Navarre immediately captured the audience’s attention with his talent and imagination. His last two works were his most detailed. While his Andes Indian marionette played flute, a young boy in the audience laughed in glee and clapped his bunny’s ears together in time. During the finale, Navarre worked upside down to bring his amazing opera singer to life. The Adults guffawed and laughed.  Everyone gave him a thunderous round of applause at the conclusion.

Arya Theatre Tehran, IRAN

presents HALLAJ

Freshly washed linens hang on a clothes line at the beginning of this play. The play asks for compassion for all the mothers, wives, and children whose sons, husbands and fathers have been executed because of their beliefs. We see only shadows in the story’s beginning. We hear what has happened and what has lead to this moment and this time. In Iran and the Muslim world, fabric is a cultural symbol representing the world and everything in it. The universe and those living in it start as fresh and clean as new white cotton.  The characters in the play come alive from the twisted sheets hanging on a laundry line. The solo actress uses storytelling and dramatic technique to bring the story to life on stage. The same simple cloth material is the play’s symbol, stage setting and dramatic personnel. The play asks us to examine our own lives while we hear the tale of one women’s private story among thousands that exist everyday. The dead are honored, but their children and spouse live the consequences every day.

Aban 27 Group Tehran, IRAN

presents STREET SHOW

This talented group of puppeteers and musicians added special theater magic to the festival. Everyday they performed with their giant puppets in Festival Park. Sometimes they presented a story, sometimes they simply let their giant puppets dance with spirit. The giant characters are constructed on backpack frames and rise to 4 meters tall. The puppeteers are not hidden but seem to stand in front of the characters as they dance and sway to the music. The musicians were unstoppable, not only at their performances but also at every other festival special event. Nothing raised our spirits more than the drumming and music they played.  Returning from a City Event at President Park the bus loaded with performers literally swayed side to side and jumped up and down with the energy of the Musicians, the Aban 27 Group and all of the puppeteers from around the world. This group was the heartbeat of the festival.

Magical Moonshine Theatre California, USA


The production was perfect for children who did not speak English. From California, USA,  Magical Moonshine Theatre presented their English/Spanish/Wordless production based on several Aesop Fables. Dialogue was only necessary at the introduction of the play. Puppet pantomime was used throughout the actual performance and was greatly received by the non-English speaking children of Kazakhstan. The performers had great nonverbal communication with the young audience who loved the show and roared at the puppets physical comedy.   Aesop’s stories are universal and the interplay between the puppets was easily understood. This allowed room for comedy every second of the show. The tortoise, the hare, the stork and the fox all appeared as table top puppets. A section of the program also made use of shadow puppets. The two types intertwined when the shadow fox had to leave his stage to reappear as a puppet fox to get his ukulele, and return to the shadow screen. The playfulness of the characters enthralled the children who laughed continually during the show. The children left having understood everything without any words but with all of the meaning.

Open Eye Figure Theatre Minnesota, USA


There is heartfelt fun in this Minnesota’s Driveway Tour Production. Every summer the professional troupe leaves their home theater and rides a Bicycle-Built-For-Two pulling a Rolling Theatre on a Driveway Tour of Minneapolis, MN. “A Parade of Oddities” features trick circus marionettes in a contemporary art setting. Yes, you can even juggle an eyeball. Bells ding-a-ling, water spritzes, and you can dance with the devil. The tiny puppets perform on an amazing Toy Theatre. Live accordion music captures the essence of the acts and moves the show along. The tiny tricks have big hearts. Open Eye Figure Theater wants you to watch the show through the eyes of a child. Hold back screaming with laughter as you wait for the balloon to fill up and pop!!

Kursk Puppet Theatre Ravlyk Theatre Kyev RUSSIA – UKRAINE

presents GIPSIES

“Gypsies” had style. The audience was greeted by three artistically patched black rough fabric banners. These drapes were able to pivot around 3 wagon wheels used as stages. The set kept the play moving forward. The rather static table top puppets were often used in an early style of soviet doll theatre. The actor and actress were wonderful performers acting as characters in a scene or as storytellers explaining the puppet’s inner thoughts and motivations. The vocal interpretations of the characters, the songs and the dancing generated much heat between the man, the woman and the audience. Lengthy pauses, like heavy breathing, filled the air with gypsy fire. Unusual in puppetry performances, the program had an intermission.   Coming back for the second half we eagerly become re-involved with story. Particularly effective was a scene when the gypsy puppet sat on the rung of a wheel and rode in circles. The movement of the character slipping back and forth seemed to fit his inner dialogue perfectly. The wheels would rotate and give us different perspectives of the characters as we heard different sides of the story. Overhead, a glowing tambourine shone as the moon and watched to the life of gypsies below.

Theatre Sylvia Bart Berlin, GERMANY


The solo actress appeared in the audience as a cleaning lady tidying up the auditorium. Sweeping around spectators is a street performer’s basic routine. Get close and get funny. The little children in the seats howled with joy. Finally cleaning the stage itself she found a Pea that spoke. YES! The Pea told her how she had become a jewel in the Queen’s collection. The character puppets of Prince and Bride had life-size heads with dangle bodies. The cleaning lady became the dominant Queen Mother. The play was straight forward: the classic tale with a happy ending.

Teatro Cantieri Dello Spett Rome, ITALY


This was an upbeat Black Light performance made of simple shapes and story. The puppets and two young performers were fun to watch. There were outlandish hats for the actresses and many puppets and images for the show. It was all easy to enjoy. Contemporary music, often found on the radio, kept the production bopping. We felt the rhythm of the music and watched the rocking of the puppets.

Armenia State Puppet Theatre Yerevan, ARMENIA

presents WINGED

This was symbolic puppetry on a large scale. This classic short story told the tale of an angel who fell to earth hurt, refused to leave when it was healed and finally had to be driven off. The puppets were wonderful large creations. The image of a woman’s head with eight legs will always haunt me. So to will the giant angel wings that flew off into the sky by themselves and the little child who looked on docilely. We throw stones at our god and his helpers-but they will forever watch over us.

Yheppa Teatre Cabriles, SPAIN

presents AS, AOS, @S

This children’s theater opened their program with a simple dance of geometric shapes. It readied us for the simple straight forward tales that would follow. The puppets were non-technical, beautiful in their simplicity and with an easy pace on stage. We learned how boys and girls are treated differently by society and with different expectations from their parents. We learned the power of listening to ourselves and seeking what we desire. Girls can be independent and Boys can dance.

Skromlehjulet Theatre Stavangar, NORWAY


This was a thoroughly entertaining performance piece. It was a wonderful character study of a contemporary male. It featured skillful manipulation of the character by two puppeteers. There was great handling of props and costume changes. The piece was original from beginning to end, but the story was eternal. An average man, left by an average woman, sank deep into his depressed self. The tight script was primarily physical. There was only limited dialogue. The show was never dull. There were surprises, special deliveries, hot lips and blowing smoke up our…. This was the most entertaining puppet character throughout the festival.  The show was one of the few to use a puppet and only a puppet. There was no need to break puppet character to make remarks on the play’s action. The clever plot manipulated us through television, postage and the telephone. It was a contemporary comedy about the modern world and a modern man’s problems of being average.

Theatre Trule Evora, PORTUGAL


This solo performer offered his soul to us in a series of puppet vignettes created over a lifetime spent in the puppet arts. We entered the theater and found eight chairs and a table. The chairs were lined up facing the audience and draped with puppets. We were the guests at this banquet of puppetry. We took our seats in the auditorium and waited our pallets whet with anticipation.  The specialties included a wonderful belly dancer, a too sweet little kitten, a distressed fellow, the incomparable Louis Armstrong, and a beautiful sleeping baby whose story seemed to be a poem to the puppeteer’s remembrance of putting his daughter to sleep. The program was not a review with a story theme, but rather a showing of the puppeteer’s best works. We loved everyone. The rich applause was just dessert.

La Negra Maria Theatre Santiago, CHILE


This was a delightful, entertaining children’s show. After discovering she had no new ideas, a writer chased after inspiration. Led by her desire to write (as symbolized by a feathered pen) the young author visited three lands of her imagining. The writer’s bags were packed; she was ready to go on her journey. The magic feather pen led the way. She crossed over a bridge into the land of possibilities filled with discovery and adventure. The young audience went eagerly with her.   The actress’ mime and face pantomime helped transmit the story enormously. We loved watching her watch, look, run, swim and be amazed. There was a beautiful hat and dress dance, a Venus fly trap, and giant glowing fish. We all got wet. We all got thoroughly entertained.

Barbe & Brigitte Company Lille, FRANCE


This program with two puppeteers used very simple object theater. The two actresses were members of a knitting club and with their yarn and a bowl of walnut they told a tabletop puppet story. The plot echoed “Rapunzel”. The program length was perfect. The accident sound effect of ‘popping’ walnut shells kept the show zippy.  

Kukolny Format St. Petersburg, RUSSIA


This artistic production stole the mind of every audience member. Artful marionettes with intricate head control allowed the performance company to bring the dialogue-filled production alive. The heads did more than bob, the heads moved on the necks one way and another. They tilted, looked up and down, strained forward. The beautiful puppets had a sallow look to them, perfect for the world they inhabited.   The simple, effective set was also a shadow screen used in the show’s opening scene to let us see all of the neighbors and what their lives were like. We were window peepers. It was a busy, melancholy city. Wonderful vignettes included the mother at her desk and the daughter endlessly sweeping until the broom extended and chased them out of the room. Leading up to a murder, the company made use of Bunraku leg movement to give the murderer a fabulous suspenseful gait as he approached his first victim. The ax was chilling. The spirit of the dead appears for a rather humorous, chilling moment. And the bloody hands of the killer were washed in a luscious hallucinogenic close-up.   Theatrically the production made great technological use of stage lighting. The shadows were velvety. The lighting pallet was subdued and golden. There were multiple cross fades and blackouts, often used to represent time and location changes. Beneath it all was a strong musical score. When the play was done the performer’s bow taken between tall buildings was inspiring to look at and the audience clapped, clapped and continued to clap with a standing ovation. This company deserved its rewards for Crime and Punishment.

Almaty State Puppet Theatre Almaty, KAZAKHSTAN

premieres ALADDIN

While the theatre staff was busy preparing to host the Festival, the artistic staff was busy preparing for the premiere of their new fantasy “Aladdin”. It was a terrific opening.  A wonderful music score opened the play with abstract geometric characters that captured the feeling of the play. Aladdin and his princess were presented as both puppets and actors. The scale difference between the two allowed the show to have larger vistas with the puppets and intimate moments with the actors. The puppet design was strong, the performers great. We were all made happy when a life-sized blue elephant carried the hero and heroine on its back to a happy ending.

Bits N Pieces Puppet Theatre Tampa, Florida USA


Two seminars were held during the festival. “Contemporary American Puppet Theatre” quickly gave an American History overview followed by examples of UNIMA-USA’s member theatres and a special introduction to Puppetry Slam. The “Symbol of Life” presentation looked at the development of puppets from earliest times through possible future developments either with or without technical innovations. Puppetry is a seminal 3D art form whose live presence and “touchability” assures its continuance. All Puppet Troupes and Individuals Artists from Around the World present


As a special event the puppeteers traveled to a park on top of a mountain where a life-size bronze statue of The Beatles stands. Each group or participant presented a puppet vignette inspired by their relationship to the band. The event made news on television and in the press around the world.

And the Festival's Final Curtain was drawn. Congratulations to ALL of the participants!