Puppetry is an incredibly delicate art form. A good performance requires the puppeteer to make the audience forget they are even there — that the puppet is moving independent of human influence. For 12 years, the Festival of Animated Objects (FAO) has celebrated all things puppetry, masked performance and any other artform that breathes life into the inanimate and helps to foster the puppetry scene in Alberta. From small, realistic puppet performances to fantastical creatures brought to life, this performance and art festival, curated by the International Festival of Animated Objects Society, gathers the best and most groundbreaking puppet and mask performance artists and brings them together.
FAO includes programs like puppet shows, exhibits and workshops, and screenings of puppetry films. Catch shows like ici ou (pas) la/here or (not) there, a wordless performance using mannequins, puppets and projections to tell the story of finding one’s place in the world. Or, catch the surrealist tale DOT, which uses liquids, shapes, reflections, shadows and other unique mediums as you follow a speck travelling through worlds micro to macro.
If traditional puppetry is more your thing, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy tells the story of a turn-of-the-century woman born and raised on the Alberta prairies. Or settle in at the drive-in theatre at the Nanton Grain Elevator for a showing of classic puppetry films, including The Neverending Story. A full list of festival events can be found here.
The Festival of Animated Objects runs from March 14 to April 2.