Students in Vietnam awed by Taiwanese glove puppetry

SamadhiTang Creative Puppetry Troupe visits Vietnam to promote the art of Taiwanese glove puppetry

SamadhiTang Creative Puppet Troupe member gives lessons on puppetry (Photo by the Troupe)

SamadhiTang Creative Puppet Troupe member gives lessons on puppetry (Photo by the Troupe)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A group comprising members from Chiayi-based SamadhiTang Creative Puppetry Troupe (三昧堂) and Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages embarked on a trip to Vietnam on July 9 as part of a program to teach students of Chinese origins about the art of Taiwanese glove puppetry.

Yen Jen-hung (嚴仁鴻), marketing director of SamadhiTang, noted that SamadhiTang is a non-profit troupe operated by a bunch of amateur glove puppetry enthusiasts from all walks of life, spanning assistant college professors, production line workers, TV program directors, cram school employees, and others, reported CNA.

The cultural troupe has over the past years represented Taiwan to promote glove puppetry around the world, the 5-day Vietnam visit being one such promotional effort in line with President Tsai’s New Southbound Policy.

The delegation members are holding classes at Taipei School in Ho Chi Minh City (越南胡志明市台灣學校) for a summer camp where participants learn the skills of puppet manipulation as well as how to do voice-overs in the style of the traditional puppet shows.

The summer camp, with a theme not often seen in Vietnam and fun-packed activities, has been so well-received that a total of 62 students signed up for the program, doubling the maximum number of participants originally set by the organizers, Yen pointed out.

Chou Yi-chia (周宜佳), director of the Center for Teacher Education of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, reckoned that Taiwanese glove puppetry is different from Vietnam water puppetry in terms of the way it is performed. She added that the program offers an opportunity for participants to appreciate the beauty and essence of the traditional form of Chinese opera that has evolved and developed a unique character with Taiwanese traits.

Students learn how to become puppeteers (Photo by SamadhiTang Creative Puppetry Troupe)