Explore the possibilities of puppetry

Kaylah Joelle Baker

The Festival of Puppetry has returned to Carlton and will run until July 2 – don’t miss out on experiencing the “amazing smorgasbord of styles and possibilities” on offer.

The biennial festival has dealt with many challenges since it began in 2015, having been postponed for multiple years due firstly to the 2019 La Mama fire and then the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But after organisers were able to squeeze in a 2021 festival during the pandemic, organisers are looking to expand on recent efforts with its biggest event yet in 2023.

“There is going to be something on offer for everyone, from children of the age of two all the way up to adults,” co-director of Lemony S Puppet Theatre, Sarah Kriegler said. 

“There is also an incredible variety of puppetry styles which is something I am really happy about, and the festival is a really great place for people to start to think about what can be done, and what can be called, puppetry.”

“We have a fantastic work from BONKEL Theatre, which includes work that comes out of two bikes, a marionette show, works that combine live acting with puppetry, as well as a collective of refugees and new migrants telling a story about what it is like to leave your home through shadow puppetry.”

As part of this year’s festival, organisers have also sought to make the pricing more inclusive, which means that tickets for the children’s show will cost just $15.

“The starting place for this festival is to create good quality, affordable family entertainment, and we want people to be able to come and not feel like they have emptied their wallets as a result,” Ms Kriegler said. 

“In a way this has been our gift because we really feel quite strongly that we just want it to be an enjoyable experience for people, during, and at the end of, a time that has been really hard.”

In addition to the long list of shows that will take place at La Mama HQ and Courthouse, Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, Carlton Highrise Estate, and the streets of Carlton, there will also be a number of workshops for anyone wanting to “dip their toes into puppetry and get more involved”, a treasure hunt, and the Puppet Picnic. 

Festival of Puppetry is made possible thanks to the support of the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne, Carlton Inc., The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society, La Mama Theatre and Lemony S Puppet Theatre, and is sponsored by Creature Technology Company, the Motely Bauhaus and Co.As.It.

For more information: lamama.com.au/whats-on/melbourne-festival-of-puppetry-2023/

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