A full house for the 17th Biennial International Festival of Puppetry Arts in Saguenay!

37,000 festival-goers were welcomed from 25 to 30 July 2023: a real performance for this Festival, which this year renewed its international strand.

A total of 175 artists, programmers and journalists from some twenty countries were able to discover new creations for young and old in 141 outdoor and indoor performances, 11 exhibitions, 5 cabaret evenings and 9 professional gatherings, providing an exceptional opportunity to exchange practices and experiences.

A special mention must go to the Marionnettarium, a veritable ‘crossroads of creativity’, which enabled nearly 2,000 people to meet artists in the making, take part in workshops with professionals and get hands-on with creating their own puppets.

The two co-directors, Dany Lefrançois and Benoït Lagrandeur, were delighted with the positive feedback from a wide audience and the artists themselves. They thanked their team and the 80 volunteers for this success, as well as the many public and private partners who have supported the Festival.

For the first time in North America, the City of Saguenay hosted the annual General Assembly of the Association Internationale des Villes Amies de la Marionnette (AVIAMA). For the occasion, some thirty elected officials and representatives from Spain, South Korea, France, the Czech Republic and Canada travelled to Saguenay.

A look back at our 2023 AGM in Saguenay…

After our Annual General Meeting on 29 July, we were a little late in getting back to you with news of the wonderful welcome we received there. We invite you to catch up with us today with these images…

A word about our official reception at Saguenay City Hall, where all the member cities formed a guard of honour on the stairs… The speeches by Mayor Julie Dufour and our President Claudine Ledoux highlighted our network of cooperation and support for the puppet arts.

Unable to attend, the Oblast of Chernihiv (Ukraine), north of Kiev, officially received the first AVIAMA International Award Trophy for Initiative 2022, created by Saguenay artist Maryse Leboeuf-Gagné, through a moving video presentation by its Vice-President, Nina Lemesh.

L’Autre, Saguenay’s citizen puppet, was present in the front row for the signing of the City’s Golden Book.

Apart from our Annual General Meeting, which most of the absent members were able to follow remotely when they were not on site, the programme enabled the delegation to discover the region led by enthusiastic guides and to attend a number of shows at FIAMS, which itself was a great success and we’ll be coming back to that in pictures too…

A round-table discussion chaired by Denis Roy also gave the delegation the opportunity to share their experiences and look ahead to the future development of the Association.

Many thanks to all our friends in Saguenay!

See you in 2024 (29 and 30 June) in Ghent – Belgium for our next General Meeting.