Nicaraguan puppet theatre. The Teatro de Títeres Guachipilín (Guachipilín Puppet Theatre) was founded in 1981 in Managua by Fernando Gonzalo Cuellas. As a puppeteer from Bolivia, his home country, he had originally intended to produce children’s puppet shows made for television in Managua. In addition to the broadcast productions Ronda Cumiches and Matatirutirula, the company produced thirty shows between 1981 and 1984, mostly for child audiences. It also hosted a training workshop for actor-puppeteers and used a wide variety of techniques.
As a company, Teatro de Títeres Guachipilín was committed to the Nicaraguan Revolution (Spanish: Revolución Nicaragüense or Revolución Popular Sandinista) and participated in the cultural brigades in 1983. Between 1984 and 1989, the group had established itself as one of the major cultural players in the country with productions that included: Francisca y la muerte (Francisca and Death), Cuentos de aquí y de allá (Tales from Here and There), Cuentos de Tío Coyote y Tio Conejo (The Tales of Uncle Coyote and Uncle Rabbit), El sombrero del Tío Nacho (Uncle Nacho’s Hat, 1985), Redoblante y Pulgarcito (Redoblante and Tom Thumb), El retablillo de Don Cristóbal (The Farce of Don Cristóbal), based on Federico García Lorca, Revista de Variedades (Variety Magazine) and El globito Manuel (The Balloon Manuel).
In 1989, the company was independent enough to run its own management, and embarked upon a new career path. From 1990 to 1996, it produced several innovative shows, including Amazul, Las manchas de la Luna (The Spots of the Moon), and La niña invisible (The Invisible Girl). Guachipilín, which enjoys international recognition, participated in national events between 1981 and 1996 in Managua and toured all over Nicaragua. The company has performed at international events, notably: Festival Internacional de Títeres de México (International Puppet Festival of Mexico) in 1988; X Festival de Teatro para Niños (X Festival of Children’s Theatre) in Cuba, 1988); 2ª Muestra Internacional de Teatro Latinoamerican (2nd International Exhibition of Latin American Theatre) in Brazil, 1989); as well as festivals in Finland (1995) and El Salvador (1996).
Guachipilín has collaborated with foreign troupes passing through Managua: Bread and Puppet Theater from the United States (1985), Gosudarstvenny Akademichesky Tsentralny Teatr Kukol imeni S.V. Obraztsova (Sergei Obraztsov State Academic Central Puppet Theatre) from Moscow (1986), the Teatro Hilos of Spain (1985), the Setaccio Burattini e Marioneta from Italy (1986), and the theatre Flipp from Finland (1996). Teatro de Títeres Guachipilín also conducts training workshops (“The Puppet in Education”, “Puppets that Help One Express Oneself”) intended for puppeteers, teachers, cultural workers, children and youth.