Indian Council for Cultural Relations

50 Years of ICCR

This Site has been adjudged by

International Puppet Festival

( October 2000 )


The participants


The Bashkir State Puppet Theatre, founded in 1932, presents the "Indian Legend", a play for puppet theatre in two acts and eight scenes. Based on the epic Ramayana, the presentation retains the traditional sutradhar, played by an actor (and not a puppet).

India (I)

Just as an artiste, by variations of makeup, plays diverse roles in a Yakshagana performance, so can a puppet, by changing its heads, be made to do duty for different characters. The Yakshagana puppet plays of the Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka in southern India are highly stylised. The accomplished troupe of Kogga Devanna Kamath presents "Lanka Dahan", a story based on the Ramayana.


Le Grande Opera Company of Rome presents "Ascolta la Terra" - Listen to the Earth. The production is inspired by the expressive world of the original inhabitants ('natives') of America -- the signs, sounds and the myths that express their spirituality and, at the same time, their deep roots and linkages with nature.


Lisa Bjorkstrom, a student of the famed Michael Mischke, presents a short performance ---
"August the Museum Guide " - about a painting in a museum which comes briefly to life and the museum guide who has lost his passion for the paintings, his work and his life.


The Myanmar Puppet Troupe presents Yokethay Thabin - the traditional marionette theatre. The programme commences with the sophisticated ritual dance of invocation and is followed by the "Dance of the Royal Page Boy", "Dance of the Horse and the Monkey" and an excerpt from the Ramayana - " Rama pursuing the enchanted golden deer ".


Puppeteers from the Jizzakh Puppet Theatre in Tashkent bring to this Festival the "Tamasha" - based on the traditional folk legends of the Uzbek people

India (II)

The Calcutta Puppet Theatre of eminent puppeteer Suresh Dutta presents "Sita". Exiled from Ayodhya after Ram's triumph in Lanka, Sita gives birth to twins Lav & Kush in Valmiki's forest hermitage. This contemporary style of presentation focuses on the twins' education, upbringing and subsequent return to Ayodhya. In the words of Suresh Dutta: " through Sita, I have tried to teach children that, besides the mother, we have another greater mother, the motherland. The emancipation of women can induce radical changes in the world".


As a fitting finale to this Festival, the ICCR is pleased to present the unique water puppetry of Vietnam, brought to India by the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre of Hanoi (founded in October 1969). Water puppetry (rou nuoc) is an art form originating in the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam - a hot and humid land of rivers, where every village has a pond or a lake. The setting is entirely rural and the stories include those of village life, legends and national history. The master of ceremonies, the puppet Teu, is a young farmer with a wry sense of humour who introduces the programmes set to Cheo, the traditional folk music of the region. The depictions include harvest and fishing scenes, processions, dancing unicorns, dragons and turtles. The stories reflect the farmers' desire to have good weather, a bumper harvest and a peaceful life.