En route for Charleville: more about our project at the Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes 2019.

This September, we are heading to Charleville-Mezieres, in the north of France, for the 20th edition of the Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes, where we will be presenting the showcase Scottish Caravan Theatre with Scottish-based company, Swallow the Sea. Six short puppetry pieces will be presented in the caravan theatre, three shows created by the Swallow The Sea team – Jess Raine, Emma Brierley and Jemima Thewes – and three by Scotland-based puppeteers Ella Mackay, Fiona Oliver-Larkin, and Mary and David Grieve, with financial support from Puppet Animation Scotland’s Creative Fund. Performing everyday between September 20 and September 29, this dynamic selection represents the diversity of contemporary puppetry theatre and the innovative work currently created by Scottish puppeteers.

Founded in 1962, the biennial Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes programmes over 500 performances by more than 200 international companies in the northern French city of Charleville-Mezieres. Puppet Animation Scotland’s Artistic Director, Simon Hart, says “Charleville is one of the oldest, and certainly the most prestigious international puppetry festival in the world. A particular feature of the festival is that its current director, Anne-Françoise Cabanis, always aims to programme works from every continent, so it is an opportunity for both puppeteers and the general audience to see works from places and from companies that they’d never get the chance to see otherwise.”

The festival boasts professional workshops, exhibitions, talks, industry seminars and networking events, and is the largest gathering of puppeteers in the world, as well as attracting an audience of over 150,000 people over the ten days. The chance to attend and perform at the festival provides important opportunity for the puppeteers to gain creative inspiration from a wide range of international productions, as well as engage with a global puppetry community, and to forge connections with fellow artists and programmers. What’s more, the caravan not be alone! As our artistic director explains: “In Europe custom-made caravan theatres are very popular, and we will be part of a large and diverse programme alongside many other ingenious and intriguing intimate pop-up performance spaces.”

The project emerged from a first run at the festival in 2015 with Sokobauno Puppet & Object Theatre’s, Little Fawn Caravan Theatre. This new iteration is a collaboration with Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre. Founded in 2012 by puppeteers Jess Raine, Jemima Thewes and Emma Brierley, the company has already created a range of innovative and engaging puppetry pieces using the caravan as an intimate, inspiring venue, as well as being an enthusiatic supporter of fellow Scottish-based artists in their creation and presentation of work in the space.

In addition to being an unusual venue which engages the audience in novel and charming ways, this small venue also offers an exciting challenge for artists who can experiment with perspective, sounds and light in new and exciting ways. Practitioners can explore their creativity and develop their technical expertise further without the pressure of immediately (or ever) having to make a large-scale production. The result is a selection of six short puppetry pieces showcasing the creativity and excellence of contemporary Scottish puppet theatre.


Discover our programme of shows.

From September 20 to September 29

Parvis de l’Eglise Saint Remi

10am to 5:30pm on weekends and Wednesday

11am to 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

2 euros per show, booking on site only

Our page on the Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes website.

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