World Encyclopaedia of Puppetry Arts

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To the reader

This website attempts to provide a cultural, artistic and technical description of world puppetry through history and in its many forms and many functions.

The site offers more than 1,250 articles, primarily grouped by geographical regions and their corresponding cultures. For example, regional articles can be found for Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, as well as the countries that comprise each region. These articles form the vertebral column of the encyclopedia.

National articles trace the history of the traditions of puppetry in each country. Each national article attempts to describe the contemporary situation of puppetry in that country, focusing not only on artistic issues, but also on the role of the public, on puppet festivals, museums, institutions and the puppeteers themselves, their professional organizations and their training. These articles also constitute intersections allowing the reader to orientate him/herself and to refer, if he/she wishes, to the major names working in the field of puppetry.

There are also numerous, usually shorter, entries that are devoted to puppet theatre companies and to artists from each country – the directors, designers, scenographers, puppet builders, composers, musicians, lighting specialists, costume designers, actors, puppeteers, and so on. While many of these individuals and the companies they work with have left their names and their legacy to the puppetry arts, others, especially more recent arrivals in the field, have contributed new visions and tecnical expertise to the art form and also may enjoy wide international recognition.

There are articles devoted to writers (Maurice Maeterlinck, Federico García Lorca … ), to artists (Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, Enrico Baj … ), to scholars (Hans Richard Purschke, Henryk Jurkowski … ), as well as essays on the museums, institutions and organizations that have played in the past or continue to play a key role in enriching the field of puppetry.

The archetypal puppet characters and traditional repertory of stories are also represented in the encyclopedia. For example, there are articles on popular characters from around the world: from Europe, Pulcinella, Kasperl, Petrushka, Punch, Guignol … ; from Turkey, Karagöz; from China, Monkey King … as well as the more “recent” arrival on the anarchic stage, Père Ubu. And there are entries that focus on the great stories and epics, with titles such as La Tentation de Saint Antoine, Faust or the Mahabharata

Besides these articles that focus on geographical regions, on individual countries, or on those who create puppetry and the companies, museums, schools and other institutions that they affiliate with, there are also articles that provide thematic or technical surveys. For the former, there are articles on themes such as Actor and the Puppet, Aesthetics of the Puppet – Asian, Aesthetics of the Puppet – European Romanticism to the Avant-Garde, Cinema, Manipulation, Stages and Performance Spaces, Voice …  Articles reflecting the technical aspects of puppetry and the special terms used in this specialized but broad theatrical genre would include : Animation, Carving and Carvers, Direct Manipulation Puppetry, Giant Puppets, Glove Puppet, Rod Puppet, String Puppet, Object Theatre, Trick and Transformation Puppets, to name a few.

Internal links within each article will also facilitate your search. Enjoy!