Thang Long water puppetry art is a traditional art form with distinctive culture identity of Vietnam. It became to existence, developed and diversified over a thousand year ago in Red River Delta. Thanks to unique performances on the water, Thang Long water puppetry art is famous and highly appreciated all over the world.
We, artists of Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre are very proud of bearing the name of a thousand-year-civilization capital which has brought up the water puppetry art for over ten centuries. Vietnam water puppetry art has won the hearts of a large number of audiences from 40 different countries thanks to Art Festival.
In 1981 : Bruno – Czech Republic (Former Czechoslovakia)
In 1983 : Soviet Union, Mongolia
In 1992 : Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya – Japan
In 1993 : Bangkok – Thailand, Hong Kong
In 1994 : Madrid – Spain, Adelaide – Australia
In 1995 : Copenhagel – Denmark, San Francisco – USA, Madrid – Spain, Japan
In 1996 : Madrid – Spain, Paris – France, Sao Paolo – Brazil, Melbourne – Australia, New York – USA
In 1997 : Paris – France, New York – USA, Hong Kong, Mexico City – Mexico
In 1998 : Barcelona – Spain , Manila – Philippines, Paris, Cannes – France, Lisbon – Portugal, Tehran – Iran
Year 1999 : Sydney, Perth, Adelaide – Australia, Athens Capital – Greece
Year 2000 : Sydney – Australia, Amsterdam – The Netherlands, Missouri – USA, Helsinki – Finland, New Delhi – India, Osaka – Japan, Athens Capital – Greece
In 2002 : Thessaloniki – Greece, Moscow – Russia, Luxembourg
In 2003 : Volos, Laissa, Trikala – Greece, Segovia, Mandrid, Leon, Miranda – Spain
In 2004 : Genève – Switzerland, Cologne, Munchen, Stuttgart – Germany, Barcelona, Bilbao – Spain, Thessaloniki – Greece
In 2005 : Newcastle – England, Macau
In 2006 : Paris, Douai – France, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
In 2007 : London – UK, Stockholm – Sweden, Toulouse – France, Chihuahua, Monterrey – Mexico, Vientiane – Laos
In 2008 : Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, Moscow – Russia, Seoul Capital – Korea
In 2009 : Tokyo Capital – Japan, Helsinki Capital – Finland
In 2010 : Guanajuato – Mexico
In 2011 : Auckland – New Zealand, Kaohsiung – Taiwan, Monterrey – Mexico, Guangdong, China,Hongkong, Tokyo – Japan
In 2012 : Lahavana – Cuba
In 2013 : London – England, Tokyo – Japan, Perth – Australia
In 2014 : Cuba, Japan, China, Korea, Australia
In 2015 : Norway, Malaysia, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia
In 2017: Poland, Spain.
The Vietnam Times.
“LTS: According to the news from the Vietnam Times, the news is popularized in recent days, a water puppet troupe from Vietnam will perform some performance shows in the North and South of California. An article entitled “Vietnamese Puppeteers test US water” of TT. As posted on the page “Living” of the daily San Jose Mercury News on October 5, 1995 recently s presented quite clearly this water puppetry, as well as calendar of the rehearsal in next time, we would like to summarize as follows. The performance shows have had thousands of years ago on the pond and lake surface and rice fields of the Red River Delta in the North of Vietnam, known as water puppetry, or “puppet” was really special. With a very high population density in the northern delta where land and field is scarce and water is daily life, the hard-working and creative local residents have created this unique direction and way.
The water puppetry previously shown daily life of the village, commune: transplantation, plough, fishing, romantic, playful children. And now the puppetry also describes the stories of myth, the historical periods, …
Coming from backstage to the water stage in the dim light, it is the hiss of the instruments in the music band including bamboo flutes, copper cover, shackle and drum which are trying sound, and then stop to concede for the introduction of start of a water puppet performance show.
Next are snakes, dragons, monkeys, and ducks which are decorated with flags, dance, scuba diving underwater. In the next week, the audiences in here will have the opportunity to enjoy a work of this special with the first performance show of Thang Long water puppet troupe in the United States. This group will perform in California starting from 9 October of this year in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Southern California. The first show is at 6 pm, Tuesday in Pier 45 in the Fisherman Wharf, San Francisco.
The water puppetry has been a secret traditional art, only performed by the villagers. They work on the field by the daytime and perform the water puppetry at night. “This is a unique art form in the world. Theatre’s artists have performed successfully in many countries such as Japan, the United States of America, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Australia … and left a deep impression on the audiences. Vietnam water puppetry art6 is being nominated as an intangible culture type of mankind.
What about children? We can freely imagine during an hour of the performance and we must say that this is a useful, good change to set them away from “Sega’s world”.
Sunday Telegraph Newspaper, Australia.
” A “great party” not only for eyes but also for hearts…, the most miracle and brilliant art in the world …”
Adelaide Advertising Company, Australia
” A rare and attractive gift in history. Each performance hides behind another miracle thing”.
San Francisco Examener Newspaper, USA.
” After the show, we have a wonderful emotion of getting away from the rice-fields to the brilliant-neon-light city. We can’t help praising the harmony that is created by this art”.
Los Angeles Times, USA.
“The show is not on a large scale, but it shows the skills with miracle and admirable fireworks. If the standard of an entertainment is to bring the audience an eager emotion, Thang Long water puppetry is really worth watching”
Summer Time, Australia.
” When mentioning to Vietnamese water puppetry, the praised words such as “excellent” or ” wonderful” can not express it. As for me, I’m very glad to be born to watch Vietnamese Water puppetry art”.
Chairman of Japanese Water Puppet Association
Vietnam News Agency, 25/08/2014
“Thousands of visitors have participated excitedly and cheered greatly for performances of Vietnamese water puppet by troupes of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
The water puppet performance items which are in the frame of Darwin Cultural have been expected by the visitors and people in Northern territory of Australia.
During four nights from August 21st to 24th at Darwin Waterfront stage, Vietnamese artists used their skillful hands to inspire to the puppets, introducing to Australian visitors characteristics of daily lives in Vietnamese rural villages and the national history through performances such as “the teacher Teu”, “transplantation, plough, bailing out water” “legend of Le Loi King returning the sword”, “the Fairy Dance”…. In addition, the audiences also enjoyed special Vietnamese folk melodies which associated with the images of Vietnamese wharfs, villages.
Ms. Chu Dac Duoc, Head of the troupe, Deputy Director of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre said: “We want to propagate images of the country, people and culture of Vietnam to the world through water puppetry, a unique art form, special creation of Vietnamese. We are happy to receive the enthusiastic support of the Festival Organizing Committee, Vietnamese representative offices and Vietnamese patriotic national residents as well as international friends in Australia”.
Although the performance item lasted for 40 minutes, a large number of Australian audiences were willing to wait for hours for the show time. The children were excited when touching the water puppets on display near the stage.
Mr. Michael Bruno, a person lives in Darwin, said: “ It is wonderful, I was so surprised by the talent of artists. I fells younger when immersed in the dynamic world of innocent puppets on shimmering water surface. I also lead my wife and children to see the Vietnamese water puppet performance. They were especially enjoying the performance show”.
Darwin Cultural Festival is one of the largest festivals in Australia which expresses unique cultural and artistic characteristics of this country. Participating in this time festival, Vietnamese Water Puppet show has become a bridge of friendship to help Australian friends learning more about Vietnamese culture and people”.
According to VanHoa dated 12 April 2012
“Subtle gestures and harmonious coordination of the puppets make audiences feel like they are living organisms, rather than a wooden effigy “- Granma newspaper, Cuba
Recently, Granma online newspaper of Cuba has published an article about the first tour of Vietnam water puppetry in the island of this Caribbean region. The article has title “Vietnam Water puppetry – an mesmerizing art form”. The following is the main content of the article.
Puppetry always has a tremendous attraction, regardless of the audience of any age. This art has emerged from many last centuries, in many cultures, stretching from the East to the West.
Water puppetry of Vietnam – a fascinating example of the puppetry art has been introduced for the first time to the Cuban people in the spring of this year, with great performance shows.
There are not any doubts, anybody who see the water puppet show was also overwhelmed by the vibrancy of the colorful puppets. Subtle gestures and harmonious coordination of the puppets make audiences feel that they are living organism rather than a wooden effigy.
From the last decades, such special performance shows have become a symbol of the character of Vietnam. This explains why the water puppet performing arts has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The water puppet performance shows in Havana have been conducted by the artisans of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. The Theatre’s representative said that: the water puppet art has been formed from the 11th century in the Red River Delta and had a strong attachment to wet rice cultivation in here. This is one of the oldest performance arts of Vietnamese people.
In order to implement the performances, the Vietnamese artisans have transported to Havana a 2-ton swimming pool which was placed in a giant tent of the National Circus of Cuba.
Backdrop was designed according the triple gate form of a Buddhist temple, with three doors where the puppets come out stage.
Each show has lasted 45 minutes, divided into 9 items such as the Dragon’s dance, Teu, bullfighting, fishing … Behind the blinds, 12 artisans have controlled puppets with bamboo sticks and underwater cables. Of course, audiences did not see this.
There are about 50 puppets with different sizes joining the performance show. The audiences totally are conquered by the ingenuity of the artisans. like magic, the puppets have moved, communicated with each other by a very fast speed, but still damned their natural live.
In the North of Vietnam, there are 5 professional water puppet performance troupes, of which Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is the most famous. In addition, there are 16 other amateur performance troupes.
The water puppet of Vietnam has had more than 600 international performance shows in 40 different countries. These performance shows are welcome warmly by the audience and the critics.
And Havana is also not exception. The first performance show has taken place in a cheery laughter of the audiences of the Capital. It can be said that the traditional water puppet art of Vietnam has a very strong position before the challenge of time.
M.L (News from Vietnamese Embassy in Norway – 07/07/2015 )
At Forde city, Norway, it is more than 400km apart from Oslo in direction of the west, the performances of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre’s troupe were welcome, particularly items participating in Forde international folk music festival, from 1st-5th July. The program was arranged with the support from the Vietnamese Embassy in Norway, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam and Hanoi city People’s Committee.
The troupe has had the water puppet and folk music performances which have presented traditional musical instruments such as monochord, T’rung, flute beams and some of their love duet folk songs of Kinh Bac region together with items performed by the folk music artists from Norway and some other countries. The troupe’s performances were enjoyed by many audiences, including local government representatives, the Organization Board of the Festival.
After each performance, the artists have exchanged with the audiences, instructed them how to control puppets, folk music instruments. The troupe has also participated in the parade together with the artists of the countries participating in the Festival. Appearance of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre’s Troupe is always welcome warmly.
The audiences have been surprised and interested in the puppet items. With artists’ deft hands, wooden puppets have come and gone freely, danced gracefully on the water surface, leading viewers to learn about customs and habits of the Vietnamese people, the hardworking, optimistic and life loving farmers. Some Norwegians said that they love the water puppet, although they have watched them in Hanoi but they still want to enjoy the water puppet again.
In the performance show taken place on the 3rd-7th date, the Troupe have welcome some leaders of Forde city, Chairman and Director of Forde Festival. The Vietnamese Ambassador in Norway Le Thi Tuyet Mai and Mr. Phan Dang Long, Vice Head of Department of Propaganda and Training of Hanoi Party Committee have introduced the visitors the water puppetry art and some typical traditional music instruments of Vietnam, love duet folk-song.
Forde international folk music festival is the largest music festival of Norway, annually held. The current festival is the 26th, taken part by over 300 artists from over 30 countries in the world for performance, including artists of Vietnam, India, Korea, Iran, Senegal… These artists have introduces special characters of traditional music from different regions, at the same time performed their personal talent items.
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