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Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets – inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal figure, that are animated or manipulated by a human called a puppeteer. The puppeteer uses movements of her hands, arms, or control devices such as rods or strings to move the body, head, limbs, and in some cases the mouth and eyes of the puppet.
The puppeteer often speaks in the voice of the character of the puppet, and then synchronizes the movements of the puppet's mouth with this spoken part.
Wayang is a strong tradition of puppetry native of Indonesia, especially in Java & Bali.
In Java, wayang kulit, an elaborate form of shadow puppetry is very popular.
Thailand has Hun Krabok, a rod puppet theatre which is the most popular form of puppetry.
Vietnam developed the art form of water puppetry, that is unique to that country.
The actions, gestures and spoken parts acted out by the puppets are typically used in storytelling.
Puppetry is a very ancient form of theatre which was first recorded in the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece.
This led to puppet societies becoming secretive and exclusive. In the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata there are references to puppets. Padhye, introduced this form of puppetry to India in the 1920s and his son, Ramdas Padhye, subsequently popularised ventriloquism and puppetry.
The Rajasthani Puppet from India is notable and there are many Indian ventriloquists and puppeteers. Tholpavakoothu (or Tolpava Koothu) is a tradition of shadow puppetry that is unique to Kerala, India.
Chikamatsu Monzaemon, considered by many to be Japan's greatest playwright, gave up writing Kabuki plays and focused exclusively on the puppet-only Bunraku plays.
Initially consisting of one puppeteer, by 1730 three puppeteers were used to operate each puppet in full view of the audience.