The Izmir International Puppet Days, which started as a small festival in Izmir in 2007, will present 44 different shows from 24 countries to puppet lovers of all ages on its 13th edition.

This year’s shows will be performed 174 times in 47 indoor and outdoor venues.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the festival’s director Selcuk Dincer said that he became interested in the art of puppetry during his visits to Europe and initiated such an organization to revive the cultural life in Izmir.

“We did not expect the festival to receive such huge interest in such a short time,” he added.

Stating that puppetry is a very enjoyable branch of art drawing people of all ages, he said the festival, which was first organized with five puppetry groups 11 years ago, reached 44 groups from 24 countries today.

Dincer said the festival is internationally known.

“We have created a very good network in the world. We are constantly communicating with the important institutions in these networks and important festivals. We introduce ourselves to the artists and get to know them. Every year we add more people and institutions to the festival. We are trying to keep updated on the works in the world and we will inform the world. It has been 12 years, and we are holding our 13th festival this year. This is a short time for a festival to be known, but we have evaluated this short period very well. We worked so hard, we tried so hard. We have introduced ourselves very well to the world and created one of the most respected brands in this field,” he said.

Noting that Turkey has an important history of puppetry, Dincer added: “Despite this, the ordinary people do not know much about puppetry. Karagoz is one of the world’s greatest puppet traditions. Karagoz is well-known in every region. We also have another tradition, Ibis. Both of these are traditional forms, but unfortunately our modern puppet art has never emerged. That’s why it is undeveloped and unrecognized.”

Dincer said that the art of puppetry is performed very well especially in countries like Italy, France and Germany.

“Unfortunately, the art of puppetry is not in a place it deserves to be in Turkey, because we do not have a puppet school yet. In a country of 82 million, we don’t have a puppetry school while we have huge interest in it. A school should be opened urgently. I hope this school opens in Izmir after these efforts.”

Dincer said that like every year, the puppetry shows will be staged in almost every district of Izmir this year, too, as well as in performance centers or streets.

He said that one of the most impressive works of the festival will be performed by the Italian group Teatri 35.

“This group will portray the paintings of the famous painter Caravaggio. The artists of the Izmir State Opera Ballet will also play baroque music. It will be a very interesting exhibition. They performed the show in very few places with live music. It will be on stage on March 1 at the Sabanci Cultural Palace. Other important shows in the festival will be performed by the Dutch, French, Romanian and German groups,” Dincer said.

The festival, which will continue until March 17, will also welcome art enthusiasts with four exhibitions. Seven workshops, five of which are for professional performance artists and two for children, will also be included in the festival program.

Source:  Hurriyet Daily News

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