There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.
- Jean Cocteau
A Tarumba - Teatro de Marionetas
Tarumba means to be confused or perplexed, astounded, fascinated, stunned, astonished… words that express the company’s general feeling towards the puppetry arts.
A Tarumba - Teatro de Marionetas is a Portuguese professional theatre company, based in Lisbon, established in 1993, with artistic direction of Luís Vieira and Rute Ribeiro. Its purpose is to spread and promote puppetry and visual theatre. It was founded by a group of people, from several different artistic backgrounds, Theatre, Cinema, Sculpture and History of Art. They all shared a common passion for puppetry and a profound awareness of the need of its revitalisation in Portugal.
The development of a work of great artistic and technical standard, as well as the constant innovation within the field of puppetry in Portugal, are the key aspects which have been characterizing the company’s activity.
Tarumba's artistic project covers the following aspects:
-Diffusion - FIMFA Lx - Festival Internacional de Marionetas e Formas Animadas (International Festival of Puppetry and Animated Forms). An annual festival programmed and produced by the company;
-Artistic creation and experimentation - shows created or co-produced by the company;
-Training and research - projects developed at CAMa - Centro de Artes da Marioneta (Puppetry Arts Centre), space where the company is based, and which is home to their theatrical, bibliographic and iconographic estate, and which functions as a puppetry documentation centre with an ONLINE DATABASE.
It is within this context, that the company develops a number of initiatives that help promoting new links between the artistic creation and the audience, using as starting point the mixing of different languages, such as video, puppetry, theatre, visual arts, dance, in other words the language of contemporary puppetry.
FIMFA Lx - Festival Internacional de Marionetas e Formas Animadas was distinguished with the Critics Award 2010, by the Portuguese Association of Theatre Critics, “for its 10 years of perseverant and continuous work in presenting, in Portugal, some of the most important creations in contemporary Puppet Theatre, Objects and Animated Forms.”
In 2013, Tarumba’s artistic directors were awarded with the Person of the Year Award, within the National Multimedia Awards given by Associação Multimédia (APMP), “by their contribution, innovative and creative work in programming/organising the Festival Internacional de Marionetas e Formas Animadas - FIMFA Lx.”
To what the artistic creation and experiment are concerned, the shows produced by the company, reflect its intention of being addressed mostly to an adult audience, giving emphasis to contemporary forms and to the research within puppetry. The company has presented plays such as Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, The Love of D. Perlimplín with Belisa in His Garden by Federico García Lorca, The Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream by W. Shakespeare, Mahagonny by B. Brecht, Mironescópio: The Love Machine by Rute Ribeiro, This is not the Gogol’s Nose, but it could be... with a dash by Jacques Prévert, among others.
The artistic and technical qualities of the project, have been recognised not only in Portugal, but also in other countries such as France, Spain, United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, India, Pakistan, Hungary or Turkey. The company was awarded with the Award for Best Dramaturgy, at the World Festival of Puppet Art (Prague), and got a nomination for the Award of Best Puppet Manipulation. The shows Mironescópio and This is not the Gogol's Nose, but it could be... with a dash of Jacques Prévert were presented in the section IN of the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières, in 2013 and 2019.
Since its creation, the company has been travelling a long road with very specific aims: the captivation of audiences by implementing the love for theatre, namely puppet theatre; the adaptation of classic texts as a means of increasing the pleasure of reading literature and revelling texts by great dramaturges; to take their shows to the more social and cultural deprived populations; going on national and international tours.
Also since its creation, A Tarumba has been organizing workshops around puppetry and animated forms, specifically addressed to teachers and performing arts professionals and even to younger audiences. The following can be stressed: Toy Theatre workshops organised at Institutions such as, the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Centre for Children’s Pedagogy of the Centro Cultural de Belém, and throughout several schools and libraries. This work has been developed not only in Portugal but also abroad.
The CAMa - Puppetry Arts Centre is home to the company and a centre for project development, where the Funicular Project, a programme of training composed by international workshops gathering several different artistic disciplines, allowing the encounter of puppetry with other arts, is also integrated.
During these 30 years of activity, A Tarumba has gathered in CAMa, an important artistic collection. This collection is composed by the company's puppets, “historic” puppets, toy theatres (originals from the 19th century and early 20th century) books about theatre, specially puppet theatre, photos, brochures and others.
A Tarumba will celebrate 30 years in 2023.