Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


Women and autobiographical identities within puppet theatre

International symposium

May 23rd 2024: 10 am to 13.30 pm

Sala Muratori | Biblioteca Classense | Via Baccarini, Ravenna, and online

Curated by Cristina Grazioli, Cariad Astles and Roberta Colombo

Note: Registration details will be published soon. Make sure to follow for updates!

With patronage from the Department of Cultural Heritage, the University of Padova (DAMS-SPM), the project Women and Masks at the University of Boston, and the Research Commission of UNIMA International

Beyond the specific field of Gender Studies, over the last two decades multiple academic disciplines have launched projects dedicated to women, female and gender-related topics (ranging from monographs, conferences, special journal issues, etc). It seems remarkable, therefore, that within the wider field of performance and theatre studies, such projects are relatively new in puppet theatre research (in comparison to other disciplines).  This symposium seeks to highlight the presence (or, alternatively, absence) of women in puppet theatre, both through history and in the present day. It aims to address questions related to the construction of gender and identity of puppets through the lens of autobiography. The presenters will approach questions such as the gender of the puppet itself (male, female, other?), its disruptive and subversive energy (also taking into consideration the powerful masculine domination in particular traditions) and a strong female presence within puppetry from at least the early 20th century. The theme of autobiography will be discussed through the voices of female artists in dialogue with reflections from puppetry researchers. The presenters, from a range of different countries, will show and discuss video extracts of their work. The previous evening the national premiere of Yael Rasooly’s latest show, Edith and me, will be presented within the festival, offering a link between contemporary work in the festival and the theme of the symposium.

The Research Commission of UNIMA International

The Research Commission of UNIMA is delighted to sponsor and participate in this round table on Women and Puppetry, hosted by the festival Arrivano del Mare. Despite new publications on women and puppetry over recent years, there is still great need for research into this field and recognition of the vast work done by women puppeteers. This round table will be focused on an emerging field, visible within women’s theatre for several decades but little discussed within puppetry scholarship: autobiography. Women’s bodies, women’s stories, personal lives, ecologies and encounters meet and tell stories of politics, personal identity and journey.

Cariad Astles, President of the Research Commission of UNIMA, UNIMA Vice-President