Viet Nam puppetry won big at the festival
Update: Oct 17, 2018
Viet Nam won seven gold prizes for best puppet performance and puppeteers at the fifth International Puppet Festival which ended in Ha Noi on Monday. 

A rehearsal of Tre-Coc (Catfish-Toad) water puppetry show,
which then won golden prize at the puppet festival

The top prizes went to a water puppetry show of Viet Nam Water Puppetry Theatre and a puppet show of the National Puppet Troupe of Laos. Another eight golden prizes for the best puppeteers were given to Vietnamese, Belgium and French artists.

The week-long puppet festival with a range of shows opening for public in Ha Noi, Vinh Phuc and Ninh Binh closed on Monday. It attracted seven international troupes from Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Belgium, France and Brazil, and four troupes from Viet Nam.

The fifth puppetry festival is held by the Department of Performing Arts under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, aiming to promote the cooperation in art and culture fields between Viet Nam and other countries.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Vuong Duy Bien, chairman of the art commission of the festival said: “The festival was held successfully with the efforts of all the artists.

“The art commission highly appreciate the love for puppets as well as the enthusiasm of Vietnamese and international puppeteers, which are attributed to the success of festival this year. A range of puppetry forms, from water puppetry to shadow, rod, glove and mask puppetry, were performed,” he said.

“Puppeteers from participant countries still need to maintain the fundamental characteristics of puppetry. They can feature other forms of art in their  performance to make it more engaging but the core features of puppetry should be preserved.”

"Creativity in puppetry art should be based on ancient plots and the tradition of each country. Moreover, the audience of puppetry shows is mostly children so humour element should be an emphasis in these shows, " Bien added.  

Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the organiser said the festival left the audience and puppeteers with beautiful impressions. Puppet troupes had the chance to learn from experience of the others to further develop their own puppet culture.

In the context of changes in entertainment trend, the traditional arts of Viet Nam and other countries encounter many difficulties in attracting crowds and the festival is a chance to encourage and motivate the puppeteers to create more a younger audience,” said Vinh.

Other winners include artists Nguyen Phuong Nhi and Bach Quoc Khanh for best directors, the national puppet troupes of Laos for the best puppet figurine, Ngo Thang for the best stage decoration, Cambodia puppet troupe for the best music and Tookkatoon puppet troupe of Thailand for best costume.

The best young talent was given to the ten-year-old Christian Elijah G.Lunaria from Lunaria puppet troupe from the Philippines.

The troupes also had the chance to explore some religious sites and learn about Mother Goddess Worshipping practice in their trip to Vinh Phuc Province as well as experience the scenic landscape in Trang An and explore about the Vietnamese history in the former ancient capital of Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh Province.