The Israel Puppet Center is unique in the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin in that it has a school (teaching artistic puppetry and puppetry as a therapeutic and educational tool), a museum with exhibitions that change quarterly, an international festival, a library and archives, an institute for the research, documentation and conservation of puppet theater and parade and street-theater workshops.
For the city’s Adloyada, the traditional Purim parade, the center runs a two-year course in carnival art, training people to work with families so they can build the giant floats and puppets that make Holon’s Purim parade so distinctive.
The Israel Puppet Theater Center complex, opened in 2006 contains three buildings over an area of 1,500 square meters, and provides a home for artists, educators and puppetry practitioners.
Puppetour: Enter Our Magical World
Tour the unique museum guided by puppeteers who give you mini-performances. Create puppets in workshops and learn how to operate them. Watch a play or see intriguing films about puppeteers and their puppets. The museum staff will tailor a tour for your group, based on the participants’ age and orientation.
The Museum of the Art of Puppetry
Hours: Wednesdays, 16:00-19:00.
Admission is free
The museum, one of the few of its kind in the world, houses a permanent collection of dozens of traditional and contemporary puppets and masks from Israel and around the world, temporary exhibitions devoted to special types of puppets, interactive corners, installations, as well as computer and projection corners.
The museum incorporates video and animation, and the guides are puppeteers who put on mini-performances for visitors.
The museum introduces to the public traditional and contemporary styles of puppetry from different cultures; expands and examines the aesthetic-artistic limits of the “puppet,” and serves as a unique research center in its field.
The School of the Art of Puppetry
The school teaches a wide range of subjects: puppet manipulation, acting, puppet and set design, writing and directing. The curriculum encourages the students to develop their personal artistic language and aspires towards professionalism and creative independence. The students experience various styles and techniques, explore their capacities in verbal expression, acting and movement, and come to understand the interplay between form and content, idea and visual image.
The school offers four main study programs:
- Puppeteer Training — A program for creative and performing artists.
- Puppet Pedagogy — Training teachers to integrate puppetry in their work.
- Puppet Therapy — The creative processes of puppetry as a tool for personal and group development and growth.
- The Art of the Carnival – A program for training instructors to prepare the community for participation in the Adloyada (Holon's annual Purim parade, which attracts about 200,000 people from all over Israel).
The school also offers a choice of programs and workshops for amateurs.
The International Puppet Theater & Film Festival
Since 1995, the International Puppet Festival, organized by the Israel Puppet Center, has been taking place each July in Holon. The festival initiates and hosts about 30 performances by resident and international artists. There are also conferences, exhibitions, and an opening street procession, workshops for professionals and amateurs; a one-day conference on Applying Puppets in Therapy; exhibitions at the center museum and galleries and a special “Puppetry on the Screen” display.
A festive “happening,” including a colorful fair, outdoor workshops, stalls, performance stages, and a huge outdoor café is held around the Israeli Puppet Center complex.
Since 2006, the festival offers a special platform for puppets in the filmed media, screening feature films with puppets, documentaries about puppeteers, and television programs and advertisements using puppets.
This special festival aims to expose the public to the many facets of puppet theater and to promote top-quality Israeli art by supporting original productions.