The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC hosts the return of the Taiwanese Puppet Festival (Nov 5 & 6). Now in its third year, the festival continues to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of Taiwanese culture and its rich history through its tradition of puppetry. Here are five reasons we think you should go:
1. A Deep Cultural Heritage
Asian puppet theatre holds a deep meaning in Taiwanese culture, and the genre is often regarded as a symbol of the island’s Indigenous culture. The festival is a featured event in Spotlight Taiwan, which explores Taiwanese culture as expressed through its performing arts, visual arts, living cultural representatives, and rich heritage.
2. The Happy Puppetry Company
The first of two featured companies at this year’s festival, The Happy Puppetry Company is led by one of Taiwan’s leading female puppeteers, Ko Chiang. The company has been performing for over 49 years, specializing in Taiwanese glove puppet theatre that has been handed down over three generations. The company will perform two Taiwanese tales, The Monkey King and The Love Story, with a colourful cast of legendary warriors, spirits, and demons.
3. Puppet & Its Double Theater
The second featured company is Taiwan’s Puppet & Its Double Theater. The award-winning company offers a contemporary approach to puppetry, using unconventional life-sized body puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets, and animated objects in its unique storytelling method. The company presents Mr. Ruraru, a non-verbal story highlighting themes of growing up, sharing, and our relationship to the natural world.
4. Puppet Workshop
MOA is collaborating with the Vancouver International Puppet Festival for a shadow puppet workshop on Saturday, October 30 with local puppeteer Jeny Cassady. Participants will learn about the art of performing with shadows, and will make their own shadow puppets in time for Halloween.
5. Self-Guided Puppet Tour
MOA visitors can participate in a self-guided puppet tour, which will introduce them to an extensive collection of fascinating puppets from around the world, including Javanese rod puppets, Chinese shadow puppets, Sinhalese marionettes, and much more.