A three-day festival, titled ‘Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW)’, will kick off on Friday at the Bagh Ibne Qasim.
The festival is a unique cultural organisation with a rich history of conducting cultural programmes in the fields of music, puppetry and theatre on an international scale, according to a press statement issued by the organisers on Tuesday.
Addressing an introductory press conference at the Karachi Arts Council, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said the aim of the 29th International Puppet Festival was to celebrate puppetry in Pakistan and draw in adults and children alike.
Akhtar said that they were working for the revival of puppet theatre in the country. “With this festival, people of Karachi, particularly children, will enjoy the most.” he said.
Through the puppet festival, he said, children would get a chance to develop a better sense of art and theatre. Arts Council president Ahmed Shah said whatever good work was taking place in the city should be appreciated. “Such programmes are very beneficial to keep the city alive,” he said and added that all stakeholders should work together for better results.
Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Director General Dr Syed Saifur Rehman said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) welcomed the festival to the city. He said it was not easy performing with puppets. He appreciated the idea of conducting the festival in other cities of the province as well.
Speaking on the occasion, Rafi Peer Cultural Centre’s Saadan Peerzada said the puppet theatre started in the year 1976 and that they had performed in 34 different countries including Pakistan.
He said the theatre would be exemplary for the people of Karachi, which would pave way for further puppet theatres in the metropolis.
“The RPTW worked tirelessly to promote joyful learning through performing arts in Pakistan and we use this power to touch the hearts and minds of Pakistanis,” he added. “Over the past three decades, the RPTW has hosted 28 puppet festivals, with 150 puppet theatre companies showcasing work from all around the world. After successfully hosting a puppet festival in Lahore for 28 years, it is now coming to Karachi,” Peerzada said.
“The puppet theatre groups that are participating from Pakistan are the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, the Al Hamara Lahore Puppet Theatre, the PNCA Islamabad Puppet Theatre, the Asghar Bahawalpuri Puppet Theatre, the Jameel Folk Puppet Theatre (traditional), the Aziz Folk Puppet Theatre (traditional) and the Juggling Act,” he said.
“The puppet theatre groups which have come from abroad are the Moth Theatre from the United Kingdom and the Kabare Pupala from Germany. Some of the other activities that will be happening and are mainly children focused include magic show, storytelling session, art camp, puppet making workshop by Yamina Peerzada, face painting and many interactive games,” he said.
“In addition to this, the attendees will also get to witness two outdoor acts: Puppet Mascot Parade and Folk Music Concert with fire dancers, at the festival.”