Portuguese puppet theatre company. Teatro de Marionetas do Porto (Porto Puppet Theatre) was founded in 1988 by a group of puppetry arts enthusiasts wishing to create a genre of contemporary theatre using several artistic expressions such as puppetry, theatre, dance, new audiovisual technology, music and lighting.

The fundamental element of the Teatro de Marionetas do Porto is the actor who manipulates the puppets in view of the audience. The company often uses original texts for its shows for children, whereas adult audiences are, in general, presented with more fragmented texts, exhibiting greater theatricality and interpreted more like music, movement or light. Another element of the Porto Puppet Theatre, under the artistic direction of João Paulo Seara Cardoso (1956-2010), is the study and restoration of old Portuguese forms of puppet theatre with the revival of the Teatro Dom Roberto.

In 1992, the company opened the Teatro de Belomonte in Porto, the first permanent site puppet theatre in Portugal. The first production conceived for this venue, Vai no Batalha (Go to Battle), was a huge success but not only as a puppet show but also because the production included creative teams and actors from several television series.

At EXPO ’98, the company was invited to create and present one of the Máquinas de peregrinação (Pilgrimage Machines), the Máquina-Homem/Clone-Fighters (Man Machine/Clone-Fighters, 1998). At the Prague World Festival in 2000, their production of Nada ou o Silêncio de Beckett (Nothing or the Silence of Beckett, 1999) received awards for best directing and best performance. The company co-produced Paisagem Azul com Automóveis (Blue Landscape with Automobiles) with the Teatro Nacional de São João and Porto 2001 – European Capital of Culture. The Teatro de Marionetas do Porto has also toured all over the world and participated in important international festivals.

After the untimely death of João Paulo Seara Cardoso in 2010, Isabel Barros became the artistic director of the company. That same year, João Paulo Seara Cardoso was posthumously awarded the Prémio da Crítica (Critic’s Prize) by the Associação Portuguesa de Críticos de Teatro (Portuguese Association of Theatre Critics). Currently, the Teatro de Marionetas do Porto has committed to a major project: the opening of the Museu de Marionetas do Porto (the Porto Puppet Museum) which will exhibit a significant collection gathered over the years.

(See Portugal.)


  • Cardoso, João Paulo Seara. “Archéologie et invention: propos sur António José da Silva recueillis par Christine Zurbach” [Archaeology and Invention: Notes regarding António José da Silva collected by Christine Zurbach]. Puck. No. 16. Montpellier: Éditions de l’Institut International de la Marionnette/Éditions l’Entretemps, 2009.
  • Cardoso, João Paulo Seara. “Teatro com Marionetas: entrevista de Paulo Eduardo Carvalho e Isabel Alves Costa [Theatre with Puppets: Interview with Paulo Eduardo Carvalho and Isabel Alves Costa]. Sinais de Cena. No. 4. December 2005.
  • Carneiro, João. “A expressão privilegiada do teatro: o FIMFA e João Paulo Seara Cardoso” [Outstanding Expression of Theatre: the FIMFA and João Paulo Seara Cardoso]. Sinais de Cena [Signs of the Scene/Stage]. No. 15. June 2011.
  • Cenas Suspensas: Teatro de Marionetas do Porto [Suspended Scenes: Porto Puppet Theatre]. Porto: Campo das Letras, 2006.[S]
  • Dias, José. “Magia sem fios” [Magic Without Wires]. Notícias Magazine. 19 October 2003.
  • Mendes, Teixeira. “Liberdade e Aventura” [Freedom and Adventure]. Diário de Notícias. 16 March 1996.
  • O XX aniversário do Teatro de Marionetas do Porto no TNSJ [The Twentieth Anniversary of the Porto Marionette Theatre, in the São João National Theatre (TNSJ)]. Porto: Teatro Nacional de São João, 2008.[S]