personne

Faizaan Peerzada

فیضان پیرزاد

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Country

Pakistan

First Name

Faizaan

Surname

Peerzada

Birth

Lahore, Pakistan (1958)

Death

Lahore, Pakistan (2012)

Pakistani puppeteer, artist, television and film producer, and lighting designer. Faizaan Peerzada was one of the five sons and two daughters of Rafi Peer, a major Pakistani theatre figure with an international career. Encouraged by his father, Faizaan Peerzada started doing puppet shows as a child with siblings and continued to work with them in developing projects, especially with Saadaan Peerzada who now oversees marketing and administration and Imran Peerzada who writes puppetry scripts and develops music for shows. Other family members collaborate in a family business that covers film, television and acting as well as live puppetry or exhibitions. Faizaan Peerzada studied at the National College of the Arts in Lahore.

In 1974-1975, with assistance from Alliance Française, Goethe Institute, and the Pakistan-America Culture Center, the family opened their complex in Lahore, Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW), an NGO to promote performing and visual arts. In 1976, Faizaan Peerzada developed a branch of the family performing arts business doing puppet work in Karachi. In 1978, the group organized the first Festival of Puppetry Art. In 1980, he trained with Gren Middleton and Juliet Rogers of Movingstage Marionettes in London and, in 1988, he studied lighting and staging on a British Council Grant.

The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW) develops plays primarily for youth and child audiences and mounts collaborative projects with international groups. In 1992, RPTW founded the World Puppet Festival and later founded the Museum of Puppetry in Lahore (2004). Faizaan’s documentaries on Pakistani folk puppeteers include The Puppeteers in the Dark (2006) and Animating the Inanimate (2006, created along with a 2005 book of the same title by Sarwat Ali). In 2008, the RPTW compound was bombed by fundamentalists, but was rebuilt. It includes a museum and theatre spaces.

Faizaan Peerzada and his siblings produced Sim Sim Hamara (Our Sim Sim), a Pakistani version of Sesame Street, with funding from USAID, which debuted in 2011. The choice of a girl, named Rani, as the main character was made to promote sending girls to school, but funding for the programme was suspended in June 2012.

Among awards, Peerzada received the “Thamgha-e-Imtiaz”, the Presidential Award for Puppetry in 2004. Faizan Peerzada died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-four on December 21, 2012.

(See Pakistan.)

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