Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


Dates: March 10 to 14, 2021
Duration: 5 days
Timetable: 10h – 13h (UTC+0)
Maximum number of people in the room: 8
Minimum number of people in the room : 2
Language of the workshop: French
Location :
Festival Rendez-vous chez nous, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Ivory Puppet Academy, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

About the workshop

Using found objects and puppets, this five-day workshop will explore the principles of puppet manipulation and scenic writing. The trainer will conduct this workshop remotely, in digital format.

Work assignments will include movement and manipulation exercises, short video presentations, fabrication and stage writing times. 

Participants will be expected to progress in making puppet heads at home. 

At the end of the five days, there will be a short presentation to an audience on the theme of Leaving.

Presentation of the trainer: Naomi Van Niekerk:

Naomi van Niekerk (South Africa, 1984) is a hybrid multimedia artist working in film, theater, installation and printmaking. 

Her extensive training (notably at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette de Charleville-Mézières – 8th promotion) and her work in the field of puppetry have equipped and inspired her to bring inanimate materials to life frame by frame with the help of a camera. As a stop-motion animator, she creates hauntingly powerful short films based on sensitive interpretations of South African narrative poems that speak to her. These short films have been screened in over forty international festivals and have been widely acclaimed with awards and selections. 

She began work on her latest film, Box Cutters, at the Cinémathèque Québécoise de Montréal in 2018 and is currently developing a new RV project entitled Two Worlds, which won the Digilab Africa competition in 2018.

Participants :

Participants must be professional performers or puppeteers (actor, dancer, circus artist, clown…) or people whose goal is to become professionals in the field of puppetry and performance.

The participants must commit themselves to be present for the entire duration of the workshop.

This workshop is open to groups and individuals. 

The groups will be welcomed by structures in partnership with the international UNIMA. They will be limited to 8 persons who will be selected by the trainer.

For individual participation, a minimum of two persons in the same place is required. They will also have to send the trainer the requested elements. 

National Centres based on the African continent interested in creating a group and organizing the course in their country can contact UNIMA.

To applicate

Artists who wish to participate must send their application before February 19th with a presentation of their background and current professional activity. 

Please limit this presentation to two pages. Visuals of your work can be attached.

Send your application to: contact@unima.org

This workshop is organized by UNIMA – Union Internationale de la Marionnette, within the framework of the project “Focus on puppetry in Africa”, a project carried out in collaboration with the artist Naomi Van Niekerk in South Africa, the Académie Ivoire Marionnette in Ivory Coast and the Centre Djarama in Senegal, and in partnership with the festivals Rendez-vous chez nous in Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo. This project is supported by UNESCO. UNIMA is supported by the city of Charleville-Mézières, the Ardennes department, the Grand Est region and the French Ministry of Culture.