Get into the reality of Burmese Puppets, a world of wonders, story telling, with a social and cultural role.
What to experience?
In ancient times marionettes in Myanmar were more than the entertaining stringed puppets they are today. They were a form of medium to tell country folk in far-flung villages the happenings in the Capital as well as a medium for educating the people in literature, history and religion, display of lifestyles and customs.
Marionettes first made their appearance on the cultural scene in the 15th century according to written records and reached the peak of their popularity during the 18th century when puppet troupes prospered thanks to strong royal patronage.
Nowadays, the tradition has almost faded away, simply due to the lack of patronage required. However, the art of marionettes is slowly regaining its prominence in Yangon again with the help of a small group of people striving to maintain the traditional form of entertainment.
Shwe Puppets perform for tourists in Yangon. You can call in advance to arrange or just turn up and they will provide a performance for you. There are hundreds of stories to play, and you can even ask for a special show based on the story you’ll wish to be performed. Bring some fellow travellers or friends to make the show worthwhile. At these shows, visitors can not only experience a living heritage passed down through the generations, but they can also learn how to make the puppets and how to manipulate these special puppets. A puppet is made of three types of wood and painted from natural dyes; it takes 3 days to complete. You can order your own puppet.
How does it help?
Shwe Puppet has been working in cooperation with the German organisation Welthungerhilfe on their sustainable food security program for poor families in Htan Tabin Township, on the outskirts of the capital Yangon. They provide educational performances to villagers in the areas of health, social issues, agriculture and animal breeding. These performances help to provide villagers with a greater understanding of ways and means to improve their daily lives.
Together with the Welthungerhilfe organisation, Shwe Puppets provide training to villagers in puppet manipulation; to help conserve a dying art form as well as bring pride to the local people. By learning this traditional art form, local villagers may create their own business of performing as well as promoting puppet culture and the techniques for making them.
Shwe Puppets have performed for the victims of the Nargis Cyclone; a destructive tropical cyclone that hit Myanmar in 2008 and caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of the country. They regularly go to the affected areas to entertain the people who have lost everything, creating a form of stress release for them. They have also provided performances to raise funds for HIV patients.
No.388 Pearl 1st Street,
Phone: (+95) 9 7301 8265 – (+95) 1 255 536 - (+95) 9 501 1362