23rd edition of the Istanbul International Puppet Festival will take a place between 2/9 November 2020. A major part of the festival will be realized digitally cause of pandemic. The festival directed and led by actor, shadow player and art direction Cengiz Özek. Some interesting shows, an outdoor exhibition and a workshop for children take a place in this year’s festival.




The Exhibition will be waiting for you on billboards of Istanbul streets. The puppets in the exhibition belong to Dr. Paul Lin who is an important collector in the most famous puppet museum in Taiwan. (Photos were taken by Wang Hanshun).

People can see hand, string and stick puppets of Asia also they can see shadow puppets too. The exhibition focused on especially China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar and Vietnam.



Dido & Aeneas “Shadow Opera”

The myth told by Virgilo Dissolves and mixes with fable, in which witches, magical apparitions and an onerous atmosphere create a delicate opera in the poetical baroque exultation.


Shadows cannot be touched and are ephemeral as music. This is the reason why the approach to opera with astonishing shadows is the ideal way of musical and visual inspiration.


Tiny World

The performance is a variet show with great connection between the puppeteer and his string puppets.

With fine design of the marionettes and manipulation of the marionette master Toni Zafra, the performance is a must for all puppet lovers. 



One of the most tender poetic tales of Hans Christian Andersen has found a new and unexpected representation on the stage of the Little Stray Doggy.

The story of a tiny girl called Thumbelina appears to be a philosophical parable, and at the same time, a lively picture of fanciful visions.


Magic Tree

This energetic piece is based on the traditional Karagöz plays of the 18th and 19th century. You will find every little detail belonging to a classical Karagöz play Magic Tree, which is primarily based on visual actions is a modern interpretation of the shamanic characteristics of Karagöz plays.

Although the language is in Turkish, the story can be enjoyed by the visual actions, as much of the story revolves around lap stick humor. The authentic instruments of Karagöz, nareke and def, are used in the play to underline the dramatic tension of the story. To have a general opinion about an authentic Karagöz play, this is the piece you must watch.

Garbage Monster

Have you ever thrown garbage in the sea? If so, have you ever imagined what happens to it? There is a fish whose job is to clean the seas and he does this job with a great sense of responsibility. This fish has eaten so much garbage that he has turned into a monster, but a goodhearted monster nonetheless.

He resolutely tries to eat all the garbage he can find to keep the seas clean. He mostly hates plastic bottles. Oh! what’s that? Karagöz is throwing a plastic bottle into the sea, and now the monster is showing up and faces Karagöz!

Magic Lamp “World Premiere”

Magic Lamp will be a world premier this year. It is a good new for puppet lover in this hard period. The Magic Lamp has elements of the Danish H.C Andersen’s “Thumbelina” and “Alladdin’s Magic Lamp”.

Hacivat brings a magical lamp to Karagöz to get it cleaned… and then adventure begins…


Cengiz Özek said; we will create a shadow puppet with using Karagöz technic. I will give to them essential information, they will get a chance to create what they imagine.

They can see material that they need for first puppet from following link below. When they are waiting ready with those material they can make their puppet at home during explaining how to make it.

Festival can be followed with those links:

Kukla Festivali web

Ömer Can Kulakcı