Pesta Boneka is an independent, international puppet biennale, initiated in and produced since 2008 by Papermoon Puppet Theatre in our home city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (In Indonesian, “Pesta Boneka" means a puppet festival, feast, and/or party—and in practice, we mean all three!)
Pesta Boneka is an international biennial puppet festival in Yogyakarta, which was initiated by the Papermoon Puppet Theatre back in 2008. In every performance, Pesta Boneka brings together puppeteers, audiences, as well as creative communities to experience various stories and cultures intimately and creatively. Pesta Boneka envelops its audience with a sense of warmth, displaying an awe-inspiring movement of puppets acting as living objects, telling various heart-wrenching stories, world culture, as well as local wisdom to its loyal audience.
This year, PESTA BONEKA#7 will be presented as a virtual festival, hosting more than 35 artists (individuals and groups) from 25 countries.
The Pesta Boneka Menu
Yogyakarta is a city where the arts and community blend together. Therefore, Pesta Boneka’s performances happen in both traditional theatre and community settings, so that the artists can share their work with a wide range of audience members. In 2016, Pesta Boneka took place at the PKKH theatre space at Gadjah Mada University, as well as in Kepek Village in the Bantul area of Yogyakarta.
As part of the festival, a variety of workshops are facilitated by local and foreign artists. For example, in 2016, Pesta Boneka hosted a special talk and presentation by Ahmad Naseer Formuli about his practice as a puppetry artist in Afghanistan.
Pesta Boneka artists also have a chance to get to know some of the local people in Yogyakarta through this cooking session—in which everyone is invited to prepare their favorite dish for a group meal with members of the community.
Not only limited to puppet performances, Pesta Boneka is also open to art installations and films that feature puppetry.
“Pesta Boneka has truly succeeded in sharing the rich culture and heart of Indonesia with participants and guests from all corners of the world. Hearts were deeply touched and minds were strengthened in order to encourage each of us to keep inspiring and healing the world around us. With such a team, such smiles, and such an audience, a performer is playing in heaven. Thank you, Yogyakarta and Papermoon Puppet Theatre for the most wonderful performance experience in Pesta Boneka!”
—Bernd Ogrodnik & Hildur M. Jonsdottir, World of Puppets–National Theatre of Iceland
“It was a beautiful gathering of people involved in the art of puppetry, and eventually, it can be a huge and important festival in Southeast Asia. I think in the future will be just fantastic—it’s growing edition after edition!”
—Victor Hugo Hidalgo, Mexico
“Pesta Boneka is one-of-a-kind festival, unique. It’s a reunion where artists become friends, or we can even say become a family, sharing knowledge, talent, and more important, hearts and life. It’s a perfect field for creation. Relationship with locals and the other artists is a very special intimate matter, through shows, talks, cooking together, workshops, and encounters with local theatre companies and artists; all very well orchestrated by Papermoon Puppet Theatre, so generous, talented and dedicated.
Sometimes theatre work runs so fast that there’s no time to get deep in the things that really matter in art and in life. It’s magic when you can find a festival like Pesta Boneka, a break in the race, and you can touch and be touched by the community that shared those wonderful moments. I came back to Spain so full of inspiration and gratitude.”
—Belén Rubeira, Spain
“For me, Pesta Boneka is a very honest festival, no pretensions. What you see is what you get. You’ll get the chance to see the beauty of each other’s art, and also the beauty of Jogja’s community…. The festival breaks the wall of artists and the community. More of this festival, please! Pesta Boneka is a festival of arts, love, and friendship.”
—Andrew Cruz, ANINO Shadowplay, Philippines
“In Pesta Boneka, I witnessed the world and the locals meeting organically in an artist-initiated festival. I witnessed emotion and mind in inanimate material, the puppet.
Yogyakarta is a great place for something like this to happen, with its independent spirit and lively arts community. Papermoon, on the other hand, is a great host, offering both experience and passion in equal measures. The realization of the festival seemed like a magical or miraculous event that I had never seen before.”
—Kanade Yagi, Japan
“With the enormous wayang tradition of Indonesia, Pesta Boneka is a necessary open window to explore and share locally and internationally about the diversity and richness of the puppetry world.”
—Elena Díez-Villagrasa, GNAYAW Puppets, Spain