World Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières

World Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières

The World Puppet Theater Festival is the largest gathering of puppeteers in the world.

The festival is a Biennale and takes place every 2 years in Charleville-Mézières

The World Puppet Theater Festival was created in 1961 by Les Petits Comédiens de Chiffons.

It is thanks to Jacques Félix, passionate amateur and tireless discoverer, that the Charleville-Mézières Festival has become the unmissable event for puppeteers, and big audiences from all over the world.

For ten days, the whole city lives to the rhythm of the Festival. The rooms, the gymnasiums, the streets, the courtyards, become places of spectacles. All techniques, all genres and research forms are welcome.

The previous events saw more than 100.000 visitors.

The creation of the World Festival of Puppet Theaters had a major impact on the cultural life of the city of Charleville -Mézières. In 1981, the International Institute of Puppetry was created, it is a permanent place for the Arts of Puppetry. Then, the National School of Puppetry Arts (ESNAM) opened its doors in 1987. Every three years, it welcomes the promotion of fifteen students from all over the world.

The year 1991 saw the inauguration of a giant automaton "The Great Puppeteer".
The creator and President of the Festival, Jacques Félix, became Secretary General of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) in 1980, and its head office moved to Charleville-Mézières the same year.

All this has made Charleville-Mézières become the “world capital of puppetry arts”.

World Capital of Puppetry Arts

World Capital of Puppetry Arts

Puppetry is an important part of the cultural life of Charleville-Mézières, which is called the "World Capital of Puppetry Arts". An international puppet festival has been held there every three years since 1961, and became a biennial event in 2011.The town is also home to the world headquarters of UNIMA as well as the International Puppetry Institute (French: Institut International de la Marionnette), which is housed in a historic building featuring a giant automaton of a puppeteer who performs a puppet show every hour on the hour. The École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM), a college which offers a higher education in puppetry, is also situated in Charleville-Mézières.

Charleville-Mézières is a commune in northern France, capital of the Ardennes department in the Grand Est region. Charleville-Mézières is located on the banks of the river Meuse.

Charleville was founded by Charles Gonzaga, the 8th duke of Mantua, in 1606. Its inhabitants were known as Carolopolitans. It was prosperous from the 17th century, although its fortifications were dismantled under Louis XIV in 1687 and it passed into French hands in 1708. It was plundered by the Prussians in 1815. France's royal armaments factory was formerly located there and gave its name to the Charleville musket, before being relocated and divided between Tulle and Châtellerault. In the 19th century, the city continued to produce arms through private firms, as well as nails, hardware, wine, spirits, coal, iron, and slate. It boasted a spacious port, a theatre, a large public library, and a museum of natural history.

The poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) was born in Charleville. The Rimbaud museum is located in the old water mill (Le Vieux Moulin) to the north of the town.

Also, check our list of the best hotels in Charleville-Mézières and book your stay during the event.

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