Colombian puppeteer. Since childhood, Sergio Londoño Orozco had a penchant for painting and making puppets out of clay. A ventriloquist, a born conversationalist …a man of many trades, was one fine day given the job of painting the posters advertising the shows at the Teatro Escorial y Olímpica of Manizales. This fortuitous event decided his career as a puppeteer.

In 1914, a Spanish variety show company with eighty artistes and a large number of puppeteers arrived in the city of Manizales. Londoño Orozco’s talents in painting, singing, and mimicry were noticed by Don Juan Cassola, who discovered in him an authentic popular artist; and so Londoño Orozco was invited to join his company. In this way, he learned to manipulate puppets, prepare the stage, manage the curtains, etc. Before returning to Spain, the Spaniards made him a present of fifteen puppets.

Sergio Londoño Orozco henceforth crisscrossed the city and the coffee plantation regions with his puppets, riding a donkey. It was then that he created his most celebrated character, Manuelucho Sepúlveda y Vinasco, a glove puppet, leader of a cast of nearly a hundred puppets with which he filled entire theatre halls of the region. The well-known characters that he created are authentic bogotanos y colombianos (Bogotans and Colombians). Chepa, Toribio and Matea (two Black puppets), Patas, Belcebú (Beelzebub), the Chupamuertos, the Gripa Chumacera, the priests Asmita and Mafafo, among the many other characters, remain to this day in the memory of lovers of Colombian puppetry.

(See Colombia.)