The core concept and the activity plan of Puppets & Design (P&D) have been developed in cooperation within the partnership. All partners are deeply committed in presenting objects as something which goes far beyon its material being and utilitarian function. For both our puppetry organization and our design partner obejctes convey cultural mmessages, can be expressive signs, and that – as well as aesthetic features – is not just another layer lacquered over the object in itself: it is intrinsically connected with its nature since the start, according to how it has been designed and to how the users respond to it and makes of it a vehicle of own purposes – not just factual, but also creative ones.

This is part of their everyday research and work experience as puppet production theatres and higher education institute of design, and it is their common ground from which they take their first step towards new frontiers of object design and uses, yet staying rooted in a tradition which is more than centenary as far as design is concerned, and plurisecular as to puppet theatre. Earlier experiences of connections between puppets and design took place with the Bauhaus, and in general the XX Century visual avant-garde movements between the two World Wars were deeply committed with theatre, including puppetry; an important representative of the reinterpretation of everyday objects to create visual narratives in picturebooks is surely Italian architect and designer Bruno Munari, one of the most important in the XX century. Yet all these remained sporadic episodes.

The aim of the P&D partnership is to state firmly the role and potential of the objects as a mean of artistic expression according both to the intention of their designers and that of their users. It is evident that such an ambitnious goal, a complex research and thoroughly planned and wide in scope activity plan as the one of P&D could not be carried on by any single organization with the same widtj and effectiveness. Partners believe their synergy will provide the skills and resources to implement successfully all activities and to built a network which will support the project sustainability and will bring to the old and new audiences of puppetry and industrial design a strong and dense artistic production.

These are the partners profile:

 

CTA-Centro Teatro Animazione e Figure di Gorizia (Italy) – Project Leader

The CTA developed its work at the crossroad of different artistic and puppet theatre cultures very near to the Eastern Italian border, in an area which until WW I belonged to the multicultural Austrian-Hungarian Empire, where still today there are linguistic minorities speakin languages of Latin or Slavic origin.

Such border setting influences its attitude towards the art, which is multidisciplinary, and enhances openness to transnational and intercultural work. Examples of the CTA attitude to interdisciplinary work are its constant cooperation with an outstanding Italina comic artist, Altan; with musician and opera art and stage director M° Aldo Tarabella; in general, CTA work on each productioncan be considered as a research path on the relationship between actor theatre, puppetry in a broad sense (i.e. images, objects, puppets, videos, shadows, etc.), music, voice, verbal language, which all contribute to a kind of dramaturgical score and have the same communicative potential.

Since 1994, CTA carries out an intense activity of promoting and disseminating Puppet theatre through the production of shows and the organization of festivals, exhibitions, workshops and events. It is a founder member of the Associazione dei Teatri di Figura (Association of Puppet Theaters)/AGIS ATF; it is recognized by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities as a National Figure Theatre, as wel as by the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia as Rehional Centre of Puppetry.

Among its main initiatives stand out: the Alpe Adria Puppet Festival, an annual International Puppet Theatre festival which takes place in Gorizia, Grado and Collio between the end of August and the beginning of September; and the also annual Festival delle Valli del Natisone (The Nadis River Valley Festival)/Festival v Nadiških Dolinah, which takes place in a mountain area in whose typical small villages lives a bilingual community speaking Italian and a local variety of Slovenian, every 3rd week; the innovative and experimental pathways Beckett&Puppet (2005-2006) on the connection between avant-garde actor theatre and puppetry; Puppet&Music (2007-2008) which was developed in cooperation with National Puppet theatres in Trieste (IT) and Ljubljana (SI); “I Pomeriggi d’Inverno” (Winter Afternoons) a winter indoor season of experimental puppet shows mainly intended for children, which takes place in Gorizia on Saturday afternoons; and Puppet d’Inverno (Puppet in Winter) with shows more suitable to to attract an adult audience, both staged in the cold season. It has previous experiences of cooperation with both the other theatrical partners: Lutkovno Gledalisce and Damuza.

 

LGL-Lutkovno Gledališče Ljubljana (SI)

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (LGL) is the central National Slovenian Puppet Theatre, hosting puppet shows and drama performances for both young and adult audiences. It was founded in 1948. Each year LGL, which boasts 6 venues with almost 1000 seats, stages 10 premiers and receives around 110.000 visitors, stages shows, produces novelties both locally and in national or international co-productions. In 2018, upon the sixtieth anniversary of its establishment, a collection of statistics counted 252 premiere performances, which have been repeated over 23,000 times for approximately 3.2 million people, tours in all continents in hundreds of cities, with a wide a wide range of awards won. Presently, besides several local theatre seasons and didactic activities for both adults and children, on even years in Ljubljana LGL organizes the biennial festival Lutka (Puppet, (14th edition in 2018), and in odd years the puppet theatre festival for children “Zlata paličica (Golden Stick, 17th edition in 2017).

LGL pays special attention to the cultural education and care for the Slovenian puppet heritage, which is officially rooted as a contemporary artistic and educational phenomenon in the work of Milan Klemencic at the beginning of the 20th century, and shows many connection with national art world, especially in the period between the two WWs. Today LGL’s work and its artistic selections for the festivals it organizes show a round view over all styles of puppetry, with a deliberated choice to present shows which differentiate by audience age yet preset a wealth of styles, from the simplest to the most sophisticated ones, often drawing inspiration from literary masterpieces, music, video art. Object theatre always find a place il LGL programmes.

 

Studio Damúza, o. p. s. (CZ)

Studio DAMUZA is a theatre producer company in Prague since 1999. Since 2004 it has a relationship as guest company at the Na Zábradlí Theatre, where DAMUZA has its venue. Today under the DAMUZA brand, there is a unit supporting the young actors, musicians and visual artists who do feel fit for official theatre and prefere exploring new, provocative theatre genres and languages. Since its beginning, DAMUZA has focused primarily on ambitious projects by students and fresh graduates from DAMU (Academy of Performing Arts-Theatre Course, in Prague), so working as an aggreaìgator of the puppet oof scene in Prague. Eucational workshops for children complete their programme of activities.

At present, the dramaturgy of the company has settled in two lines:
– supporting discovery and novelty projects for a demanding audience, a theatrically educated viewer looking for something innovative. Such production is characterized by connecting alternative performance, puppet theatre, music and dance.
– in collaboration with the Department of Contemporary Theatre and Puppet Theatre, DAMUZA is preparing small puppet stories characterized by precise execution, minimal staging, strong dramaturgical approach to puppets and research on object animation.

 

IED-Instituto Europeo De Design Madrid (ES)

IED madrid is part of an international network (other seats are in Itaky where the network took origin: Milan, Rome, Turin, Florence, Cagliari, Como; in Barcelona, Catalunya; Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil) of private higher education design schools. Its research and teaching programmes are organized into four disciplines: Product & Interiors, Fashion, Visual Arts and Communication. Through a big, creative and dynamic workforce, the IED is enriched with new and innovative visions. It was founded in 1966 with the idea of developing the practice of design through a multinational European project.

Today IED is a forward thinking design institution looking to rethink how design is taught and applied to the benefit of the world. IED is a powerful structure which serves thousands of researchers, professionals and students every year with its courses and venues where practiotioners and future professionals can prototype their own projects of transformation. With a wide range of training courses in the areas of fashion design, product design, interior design, visual arts, communications and management, it is the largest Design Campus in Madrid.

Its classrooms, especially designed to accommodate the different specialties of courses, provide library, multimedia laboratories, classrooms for 3D design, fashion workshops with sewing machines, knitting machines, mannequins, irons and model-making laboratories in which to produce models and prototypes, plus two photographic studios with natural and artificial lighting and three cicloramas. Multidisciplinarity and international scope lay at the basis of its activities. Its connections with the wotld of design research om one hand, and of industry on the other, ensure maximum communication and productiveness between innovation amd mainstreaming, nternational Network counts 3 countries, 11 offices, 10.000 Annual students, 6.000 involved professionals, 100 nationalities.