Racontars arctiques, collectif La ruée vers l’or
© Louis-Martin LeBlanc
Puppetry is an ancestral art that continues to shape the evolution of contemporary artistic movements; the puppet honours matter and life, transposes reality, embodies dreams and calls for a thoughtful, imaginative, better world.
Puppetry is a mature art that flourishes in many connected fields such as theatre, film, television and digital arts. The AQM and Québec artists in the field are calling for the recognition of puppetry as a major art form and wish to raise awareness about the particular requirements of their profession.
For several years now, the Association québécoise des marionnettistes has been producing a magazine (Marionnettes) as well as a wide range of documentation. These publications present a portrait of puppetry creation in Québec, report on the various events that have marked its history, and bear witness to the realities, challenges and dynamism of puppetry in Québec.
Ballad of the Wild Horses, Théâre de l’Oeil © Michel Pinault
AQM Workshop, ©Cloé Ratio
For several years now, the AQM has been developing a professional development program with the financial support of Emploi-Québec, and sometimes in collaboration with local organizations. This program addresses a persistent request from Québec puppeteers seeking opportunities to perfect their craft. Past subjects for training have included puppeteering, puppet making, dramaturgy, video production, sound design, object theatre, shadow theatre, and many other related disciplines.
Mutatis Mutandis ! , Laurence Petitpas
© Débora Flor
AQM organizes various activities aimed at expanding the reach of the discipline and multiplying encounters between professionals : symposia, thematic meetings and roundtables, interviews and masterclasses with foreign puppeteers on tour in Québec. In addition, AQM has created a program of talks delving into precise topics, the Popular University of Puppetry Arts (Université populaire des arts de la marionnettes – UPAM), of which several sessions are held every year.
Networking meeting, Casteliers 2020, ©Christian Brault
A joint venture of AQM and Casteliers, the International House of Puppetry Arts (Maison internationale des arts de la marionnette – MIAM) opened its doors in the Fall of 2018. This centre for creation, performance, training and arts outreach is devoted entirely to the puppet arts.
Based on cooperation and the mutualization of resources, the MIAM is first and foremost a community-oriented and open space. Year-round, public and professional activities are proposed and creative spaces are rented, sometimes by the cofounders, sometimes by puppeteers or other community users. This allows for versatile, spontaneous and agile programming.
The AQM itself is a key partner in the development of the MIAM, taking part in consultation committees on funding, communications and cohabitation. The Association also hires and manages the employee dedicated to working the MIAM’s reception desk.
Since the opening of the MIAM, AQM has held most of its activities there, including various professional workshops, conferences, member assemblies and social gatherings.
Aisselles et Bretelles, Théâtre CRI
© Alexandre Girard
The AQM works to ensure the presence of puppetry arts at the heart of the cultural life in Québec and beyond. It sits on the board of directors of the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) as well as on its professional development committee.
Through delegates appointed to various boards of directors, the AQM carries out important advocacy work in Québec.
Within organizations such as the Conseil québécois du théâtre, Compétence Culture, and Quebec Drama Federation, it also participates in the major current debates on contemporary theatre making and contributes its members’ vision to these important discussions.
At the Canadian and international levels, AQM sits on the Board of Directors of UNIMA-Canada as a representative of UNIMA-Canada, Québec Chapter. Two of the three national councillors representing UNIMA-Canada at the various international meetings of UNIMA International come from the Québec chapter. Additionally, AQM members sit on 6 of the 16 Commissions of UNIMA International.
The AQM also holds several networking events every year, including the International Casteliers Professional Networking Meeting, which brings together national and international programmers invited to Casteliers Festival and the AQM’s professional members. This event has taken place during the festival, in March, for the past ten years.
Also, in collaboration with the Festival international des arts de la marionnette à Saguenay (FIAMS), every two years, the AQM organizes an Express Artist Showcase followed by a networking cocktail : a fantastic opportunity for puppeteers and festival delegates from around the world to come together in a relaxed atmosphere.
Festival Mondial des Théâtre de Marionnettes, ©Patrick Agirakis
Since 1986, the AQM has been recognized by the International Puppetry Union (UNIMA Internationale) as a UNIMA Canada Centre (Québec chapter). As such, Québec puppeteers are represented at the international level by two councillors who actively participate in the work of this global organization.
The dedicated commitment of these delegates throughout the last twenty years has greatly contributed to building Québec’s reputation as a hub for creativity and expertise in puppetry.
These connections between puppeteers from near and far remain an essential part of staying ahead of the trends that animate the puppet world.