Matanzas, the city that looks out to sea, located on the north coast of the island of Cuba, 100 kilometers from Havana, is known as the city of bridges and rivers, of poets, and also of puppets.
Since 1994, the International Puppet Workshop (Taller Internacional de Títeres) has been held there, a biennial performing arts fiesta sponsored initially by the Teatro Papalote company.
Now, other local cultural and social institutions have joined in, providing a theatrical and theoretical panorama at every festival that includes performances, exhibits, lectures, books, concerts and workshops for professionals and amateurs in this theatrical art.
Celebrities and companies from the world of puppetry come to Cuba from all over the Americas—North, Central and South—Europe, Asia and Africa, to experience with artists and the local population that special way of being, a combination of color and rhythm, melancholy and joy, found in those who were born in the Caribbean.
The festival’s latest edition takes place in April, and the tropical spring will provide a perfect climate for exchanging experiences with puppeteers, not just in the intimate setting of theaters, but also in parks, streets and plazas. The whole city becomes a giant stage that spreads out to local towns, adjoining provinces and activities in the nation’s capital.
Twenty years of organizing the magic of these characters made of cloth, paper and cardboard, from the most traditional tendencies to the most avant-garde, made it possible for this Workshop to host the World Council of the International Union of Marionettes in 2014, bringing together participants from all over the world.
The 11th Workshop will be held from April 19 to 24, 2016, and it will be the ideal occasion to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pelusín del Monte, a Cuban puppet created by writer Dora Alonso, together with the legendary brothers Camejo and Carril, and to remember the beneficial influence on the American continent’s theater of the poets and playwrights Federico García Lorca (Spain) and Javier Villafañe (Argentina).