LAHORE - Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop will hold the 9th annual International Folk Puppet Festival from March 21-25 to keep the tradition of folk puppetry alive in Pakistan.

The five-day International Folk Puppet Festival will commence from Wednesday, to mark the World Puppetry Day on March 21. This year puppeteers from five countries including Norway, Denmark, France, Iran and India-and 12 Pakistani puppeteer groups will take part in the festival. While addressing a press conference RPTW representatives on Monday said the groups participating in the festival have a rich background in puppetry. They said besides foreign groups, over a dozen folk puppeteers from six districts of Punjab and Sindh provinces would also participate in the mega event. Prominent among them include BashirDhamali, Muhammad Shafi, Bahadura, Khalid Hussain, BilloMaee, Muhammad Abdullah, Muhammad Afzal, Bahdur Ali.

They said: “Rafi Peer mascots; a colourful parade of mascots, horses and camel dance and traditional dances will add more life to this festival. A number of traditional moving puppets from the Museum of Puppetry would be there for the delight of the participants throughout the 5-day long festivities.”

They announced that all performances would free with admission and staged 10am to 9pm every day.

According to the organisers, the objective of the festival, which is in its 9th year, is to maintain and encourage the tradition of live performance as well as to raise awareness specifically among the youth about the versatility of the folk puppet tradition in Pakistan.

They said that this annual International Folk Puppet Festival would also help to generate employment, introduce folk puppeteers to new markets and recognition from participants and audiences.