From April 4th to 8th, The Chinese Shanghai Puppet Festival was successfully held in Brussels and Huy. Organized jointly by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Belgium, the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union and the China Cultural Center in Brussels, it welcomed more than 500 people over 4 days. H.E. Ambassador QU Xing, Counsellor ZHOU Ping, Counsellor XIANG Shihai, Director ZOU Yu of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Minister-Counselor LI Jianmin of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, Mr TAN Shu, Director of the China Cultural Center in Brussels, Artistic-Director WANG Hao of SMEG Performing Arts Group, Mayor of the municipality of Huy Christophe Collignon, Director Wulf SCHLABE of the European School of Brussels IV and many other distinguished guests participated to the Festival.
On 4th and 5th April, the China Cultural Center in Brussels had the honor of hosting the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe. It was with great excitement that children took part in a puppet workshop that enabled them to create and handle their own Chinese traditional hand puppet. First, with the guidance of a professional puppeteer from the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe, they learnt techniques to bring their puppets to life and even to make them do some kung fu moves! The children also discovered 4 traditional puppet characters during the workshop, the most famous of them being the Monkey King (孙悟空Sūn Wùkōng).
Then, they became the real actors of the workshop: they created their own unique puppet. Under the watchful eye of their parents, they expressed the full extent of their creativity.
Dedicated to learning about the different techniques of manipulation, the end of the workshop allowed the children to give life to their puppet. A fun and self-worth time, during which even the shyest kids dared to speak out through the puppet.
The other highlight of the festival was the show presented by the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe. In front of a full audience of spectators, the artists played 6 short puppet performances using various puppetry techniques. Both poetic and funny, the stories fascinated the public. The beauty of the staging brought spectators of all ages into a world where fantasy meets dreams.
The Red Silk Dance, the story of a puppet dressed in a glowing costume and handling with a divine grace a piece of red silk, attracted the attention of the public. Driven by the oscillations of her puppeteer, the doll raised into an enchanting dance. The meticulousness of the puppetry, the sumptuousness of the costume, and the finesse of the movements performed dazzled the spectators.
But the Troupe also has a lot of funny pieces in its repertoire. During the show, young and old discovered The Toad and the Geese, the hilarious story of a toad who becomes the mother of four ducklings! Punctuated by catchy music and by a mischievous staging, the performance sparked many laughs in the audience.
Icing on the cake: children and spectators also visited the exhibition dedicated to the journey of the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe. Composed of photographs of its greatest successes, the exhibition highlighted the diversity of its repertoire, its different specialties and the richness of its staging.
At the end of these two days, the record of the festival is more than positive! Workshops and show sold-out, great feedback from children and their parents, enchanted spectators … One thing is sure: both audiences of big and small will not forget the visit of this mythical troupe within the China Cultural Center walls!
Performance on April 6th at the European School of Brussels IV
On April 6th, the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe gave an excellent performance at the European School of Brussels IV. Before the show started, students presented their carefully prepared gifts to the Chinese puppeteers to express their appreciation and warm welcome to the troupe. In order to help the students better understand the stories, the puppeteers gave a short introduction of each performance in English, furthermore, they demonstrated the different forms of Chinese puppets and the corresponding performing methods. Laughter and applause circled the room, students were amazed by the art of Chinese puppetry.
Performance on April 8th at La Mézon
On the occasion of the opening event of the China Culture Week in Huy, Belgium, the Shanghai Puppet Theatre Troupe were invited to La Mézon for a splendid performance. The China Culture Week was organized by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Walloon Region.
The Chinese Puppet Festival attracted a large number of media among them: Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, China Radio International, Jiefang Daily, La Meuse, L’Avenir, La Dernière Heure and many others…