Puppet Friendly City
Charleville-Mezieres is a 55 000 inhabitants french city, which had built strong links with the arts of the puppet and Charleville-Mézières.
Links at first weaved because of the passion of some men for this art, like Jacques Felix which was not the least of them. Thanks to him, Charleville-Mezieres, is now on recognized as the world capital of the puppet.
Indeed, it welcomes for more than 50 years the world festival of puppet theaters. Created in 1961, it stood out as the international reference of the puppet. Considered all over the world, this festival gathers some 250 companies (In and Off) coming from five continents. Every two years, it welcomes more than 150 000 spectators during 10 days. Every day more than 50 shows are presented. Meeting of the professionals, big popular event, the world Festival of puppet theaters of Charleville-Mézières allies the biggest artistic requirements to the emotion and shared joy.
The city is also the home of the International Institute of the Puppet and of the Graduate school of the Arts of the Puppet (ESNAM). This world-renowned center trains, in three years, students in theatrical art and puppetry. They come from the whole world to follow a program dominated by the contributions of big names of entertainment. A lot of students get professional status and propose their arts in every corner of the world. ESNAM will soon be moved to be hosted in a modern and adapted building which will open its doors in 2017.
Finally, Charleville-Mézières is headquarters of the International Union of the Puppet (UNIMA). Regarding to this quite particular relation between the city with the art of puppet, it had to initiate AVIAMA.
It is in 2010, that Claudine LEDOUX, then Mayor of Charleville-Mézières, had the idea to create the Association international of the friendly cities of the puppet. And it is in Charleville-Mézières where is held every two years, the general assembly of Aviama.