Even if it is said “of tradition” in Africa, the sector of the puppetry arts is not yet really professionalized. Conscious of this reality, UNIMA – International Union of Puppetry, proposed, with the Académie Ivoire Marionnette (Ivory Coast) and the Centre Djarama (Senegal), a cycle of training associated to a creation and professional meetings, the whole within the framework of the 90 years of the organization. This project had vocation not only to accompany the professionalization of the sector by integrating, notably, young artists to the activities, but also to bring a visibility to the African puppetry arts thanks to the different collaborations set up. The partners thus tended towards a greater structuring of the actors and actresses of the puppetry in Africa.
Different actions were set up: a cycle of professional training courses, a creation as concrete experience and test within a work of creation, led by a recognized artist, and two seminars on the cultural entrepreneurship in Africa as complements of training with recognized professionals in the partner countries of the project.
The proposed trainings and the organized transnational creation are as many tools of structuring of the actors of the puppetry in Africa. UNIMA and its partners have collectively carried, with this project, the wish to allow the actors and actresses of the sector to have a better intercognition and to be able, thus, to pursue projects together in the future, and this, thanks to the existence of the National Centres of UNIMA in Africa.
The creation “Customs”, supported by the Djarama Centre under the direction of Patricia Gomis, toured in various French-speaking African countries from 24 September to 9 October 2022, at the French Institute in Dakar (Senegal), at the Maison de la Gare in St Louis (Senegal), at the “Art de la Scène et des Savoir Endogènes” festival in Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), in cultural centres in Ougadougou (Burkina Faso), in cultural centres in Bamako (Mali).
This booklet is an overview of what has been achieved despite the difficulties and other hazards encountered.