The first 'virtual International puppet theatre festival' from 9th May 2020 started its work with enrolling participants works by Instagram page of the festival – @_iospf – and sharing works on the same page.
Bahram Behbahani The puppet theater artist and lecturer of the University of Tehran, as the festival's consultant, said in an interview with HonarOnline about the purpose of holding the International Virtual Puppet Theater Festival: With the widespread of the Coronavirus and the closure of cultural and educational centers, student classrooms changed from face-to-face to online. Since most of the classes in the field of drama are practical and workshop, after starting the online classes, I realized that the appropriate conclusions may not be obtained from these classes. Based on this, we proposed to hold an internal festival of virtual puppet shows at the level of the country's universities and then globally. With the efforts of students and professors in the field of puppetry, the University of Tehran, Sureh, and Art Universities, the festival was established.
Behbahani said about the feedback of this festival in the world: Since the publication of the call in Persian and English, we have corresponded with most Iranian students and universities around the world, and fortunately, we have received a great response. So far, more than 30 plays have been submitted to the festival from about 12 countries and it will be more until the 26th of July. Due to the great response of the artists to the online puppet show festival, we will plan for the second period of the festival.
The director, while stating that according to the works received at the festival, artists have chosen countless techniques to present their works, which can often be followed and continued online. Currently, 6 experts in puppetry and drama are selecting the winners of the first stage, and these selected works will be judged in the second stage by other judges.
At the end of his speech, he said: "The poster of this festival has also been shared on the UNIMA World website and has been very well received." I hope that the country's theater authorities will support this festival more. Although we have had the support of the University of Tehran, the General Directorate of Performing Arts, Keshavarzi Bank, the Theater and Puppet House Performers Association, the Audience and Theater Institute, the festival needs more support.