File puptcrit/puptcrit.0503, message 78

Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 17:27:47 EST
Subject: [Puptcrit] Other Puppetry Festivals

Dear Friends, 

 Having attended (and performed for) festivals in iran, Israel, Belarus, 
Korea, Japan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, France, Russia, Hong Kong and 
Siberia, I have observed that most are NOT directed by puppeteers. 

They are mostly directed by organizers who might manage a puppet festival 
this year and an art festival, drama/theater festival, or maybe even a trade fair 
next year. They are professional, capable directors.  They put festivals on a 
financially secure and even money-making basis, inviting vendors and others 
to help support the event by purchasing booths offering merchandise and skills 
to festival participants; they offer performances to the general public and 
organize other profit-able aspects.  When performances are offered, they choose 
companies and programs that appeal to the general public (in most cases) and 
entertainers or puppeteers who have an appealing program and "name."  Directors 
"market" the event.  Usually, programs are not chosen to be "payoff" for 
political reasons.

I believe a permanent festival site would be to the detriment of the entire 
membership.  This has been talked over as long as I can first 
festival was Bowling Green in 1955...for a while Archie Elliott was one of the 
dedicated organizers insuring that all aspects were covered...and he was not a 
puppeteer.  As I remember back 50 years, I think the best festivals were not 
organized by performing puppeteers...who were usually too busy earning a living 
to give the time and effort necessary to organize a national 
festival...obviously there were outstanding individuals who could and would "step up to the 
plate."  My estimate of the time and effort necessary to do a really good job of 
directing a national festival is a $75-100K consulting job.

  Just my opinion.  Sincerely, Jim Gamble
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