By Yadana Htun and Zaw Winn
A FAMOUS puppeteer from Myanmar, U Ye Dwe, has been invited to attend the 20th Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) Congress and World Puppetry Festival, which will be held in Perth, Australia, from April 2 to 12.
The 72-year-old performer said he was pleased to go to the festival so he could introduce Myanmar puppetry to an international audience and study puppetry from around the world.
U Ye Dwe said he will present the dances of a range of traditional Myanmar marionettes, including horse, monkey, ogre, galun (legendary bird), naga (dragon), zawgyi (sorcerer/alchemist), thangedaw (royal page boy), prince and princess.
He said he was also working to persuade local puppeteers to join UNIMA, of which he is a member.
“I hope Myanmar will be one of the UNIMA’s national centres in the future,” he said.
“Although Myanmar puppetry is of high standard, we have many things to learn from others. If we can keep in touch with what is happening in the world, I think this would be of great benefit for Myanmar puppetry,” said U Ye Dwe.
UNIMA, which has more than 60 national centres all over the world, was founded in 1929 in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Meanwhile, puppeteers from the Htwe Oo Myanmar troupe in Yangon have been invited to participate in the InterDock 19th Lund International Puppet Theatre Festival in Sweden from September 24 to 28, said troupe manager U Khin Maung Htwe.
“Six of our puppeteers have been invited by the chief manager of InterDock, Julio Saavedra, to take part in the festival in Lund in southern Sweden,” he said.
He said representatives from InterDock came to Myanmar in January 2007 to see performances by several troupes but finally decided to invite Htwe Oo Myanmar.
“I’m really glad to be invited. I think our participation will help introduce Myanmar traditional puppet theatre to a European audience and maybe persuade tourists from there to visit Myanmar,” he said.
U Khin Maung Htwe, who will be among the six puppeteers travelling to Sweden, said Htwe Oo Myanmar will give a daily 60-minute performance during the five-day festival.
“There will be puppeteers from many different countries performing but it is not a competition,” he said, adding that the festival organisers will pay for the troupe’s airline tickets, transportation, accommodation and meals, and will also provide a daily allowance.
Htwe Oo Myanmar gives traditional puppet performances at its theatre on the 11th floor of FJV Commercial Centre on Strand Road in Botahtaung township, Yangon. More information can be found on the internet at www. htweoomyanmar.com.