Safeguarding the tradition of Myanmar Marionette and Performing Arts

THE PROJECT – Safeguarding the tradition of Myanmar Marionette and Performing Arts (1st July 2015 until 2nd July 2016) – was implemented by Myanmar Upper Land (MUL)with the fund provided by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). The project’s aim was to promote the traditional Myanmar marionette performing arts beyond the touristic audience and create performance capacity and awareness in the different regions and states of Myanmar, and to safeguard all its aspects, which include the method of manipulating and making Myanmar marionettes (string puppets), dancing, music, sculpture, sequin embroidery, and painting.

Direct beneficiaries of the project were Myanmar traditional artists who are unable to attend the formal training school or universities, students of the schools of fine arts and universities of Culture, ethnic community members, researchers and policymakers who are interested/involved in traditional performing arts and culture.

Participants in the project were national and international researchers and experts such as from Myanmar Marionettes Organization (MMO), Myanmar Theatrical Associations, ‘Goethe Institut’ (Myanmar); lecturers, researchers from the National Universities of Arts and Culture in Yangon and Mandalay (NUAC – Y/M); Universities of Culture from Mandalay and Yangon; students and lecturers from the Myanmar fine arts schools and culture universities, and private marionettes troops from Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The activities of the project successfully implemented as planned during the period of 1st July 2015 until 2nd July 2016 in close collaboration with ‘Goethe Institut’ (Myanmar) and MMO.
Overall, the project intended to bridge the past with the future and to overcome social exclusion, and build new skills and capabilities in the Myanmar traditional artist communities and modify its traditional approaches to cope with today challenges and opportunities.

The project set the following objectives:
1. Provide innovative solutions in preserving the uniqueness of cultural traditions in Myanmar marionette;
2. Transfer the skills of traditional Myanmar puppetry – manipulating, making, dancing, music, sculpture, sequin embroidery and painting– to a younger generation of male and female puppeteers of different ethnic groups;
a. promote traditional puppetry as a means for ethical and aesthetic education and preserve various techniques that existed in the traditional theater performance;
b. encourage the use of puppetry performance as means of advocating issues related to modern society (in schools, communities, etc.);
3. Exchange knowledge and experience between Myanmar, ASEAN, and international artists; then to create an annual international marionette/puppet festival in Myanmar;
4. Strengthen learning and networking capacity among Myanmar puppeteers artists.
Activities carried out to achieve the objectives
Activity 1: Learning Material Development: Myanmar Marionettes-DVD-Rom digital version and a printed version.
Activity 2: Skills Transfer Training on Myanmar Marionettes performance including project
Activity 3: Two days Myanmar and International Marionette Festival on awareness raising in the safeguarding of traditional Myanmar marionettes (2-3 April 2016)
Activity 4: Strengthening learning and networking capacity among Myanmar Puppeteers artists through MMO

Myanmar enriched with a great diversity of cultural forms including performing arts, like the Myanmar Marionettes Theatre. Nowadays, the ‘old traditional marionette artist generation’ has almost faded away. This project brought together all leading professionals from the Myanmar marionette communities and raised awareness in the sustainability of this unique art form. Besides, a book and a Myanmar Marionette DVD-Rom on all aspects of Myanmar puppetry were produced for the purpose of documentation, and were donated to the NUAC – YGN/MDY and the School of Fine Arts for teaching purposes.

The project was a great success and has fulfilled all its objectives, in particular in

  • awareness raising of traditional Myanmar Marionettes and performing arts among all professionals, leading academics, lecturers from the Myanmar Fine Arts Schools and Culture Universities, artists, and trainees;
  • preserving various techniques as existed in the traditional theater performance;
  • improving ways of learning and teaching within the traditional theatrical performing artist communities;
  • strengthening learning and networking capacity among local artists;
  • exchanging knowledge and experience between local and ASEAN regional artists;

providing innovative solutions in preserving the uniqueness of cultural traditions in Myanmar Marionettes

For more detail the case study of the Project >>>

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