According to Massimo Schuster, President of the Union International de la Marionnette (UNIMA), "Puppetry is on the move... but it is getting harder and harder to work in this global world". Yesterday saw the opening of the 20th World Puppetry Congress and Festival, here in Perth, Western Australia. UNIMA 2008 is bringing together many artists and puppeteers from most countries of the world, for the first time in the southern hemisphere to share their art and discuss the future of this World Micro-Culture. UNIMA started in Prague in 1928 and its aims were to unite the puppeteers of the world under one family body, affiliated to UNESCO. The world congress is being run simultaneously with the world festival, showcasing puppet theatre from every continent. The bid is also up for the next UNIMA Congress in 2012 and the battle is on between China and Russia as to who will host the next congress. Keep tuned for news on this!
I will be reporting from the festival daily for the days to come and will try interview the key players in world puppetry, so watch this space. Here is the short interview with Massimo Schuster, who has recently returned from an invite to China by the Mayor of Chendu to see for himself one of the bidding countries! (You can read about his experience on his blog here!)