The World Festival of Puppet Theatres, founded in 1961, has continued to increase in scale throughout its fourteen editions.
It is thanks to Jacques FELIX, a real enthusiast and tireless talent scout, that the Charleville-Mézières Festival has become the unmissable event for puppeteers, programme planners and visitors from all over the world.
For ten days, life in the whole town revolves around the festival. Many events rooms, sports halls, streets and courtyards are used as venues. All types of techniques, styles and exploring of new ideas are welcome - from string to glove puppets, from shadow to Bunraku, from real objects to onscreen, from small intimate forms to giant puppets… traditional shows alongside the most modern of styles - and viewed by a wide-ranging audience.
During the last festival in September 2009, all shows, including the ‘IN’ and the ‘OFF’ and inside and outside, were attended by 150,000 people in the town of Charleville-Mézières, now known as the World Capital of Puppetry Arts.
Indeed, besides the Festival, since 1981, the town has been home to the Institut International de la Marionnette, a permanent place of training, creation and exploring of new ideas and to ESNAM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette), which since 1987, has taken students from all over the world. UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) has also had its headquarters in Charleville-Mézières since 1980.
The Festival has taken place every three years since 1976 but it will continue biennially, so giving festival-goers the opportunity to gather together in September 2011 to blow its 50 candles out!