Italian puppeteer aims to keep tradition alive amid pandemic - GulfToday

Italian puppeteer aims to keep tradition alive amid pandemic


Puppets of Grilli's family collection are pictured on the stage at the " Alfa Theatre" in Turin

Niloufar Saleem, Gulf Today


Eighty-year-old string puppeteer from Italy Augusto Grilli strives hard to keep the tradition of puppeteering alive in today’s modern world.


 Grilli’s life changed after he was gifted the small theatre with around 12 puppets almost 75 years ago.


What started as an exciting adventure became his lifetime passion.


 Mastering the art at a young age, he became something of a star in his school in Turin, northern Italy.


puppet3 Marco Grilli holds two puppets in the parterre at the " Alfa Theatre" in Turin.

The little gold and white theatre is today carefully preserved in one of the countless plastic boxes waiting to be taken to the new International Puppet Museum.


 A long-time dream of Grilli and his wife Mariarosa, 78, the museum is due to open in 2023 in Turin, financed both privately and publicly with the help of different institutions.


 The Grilli family has a collection of more than 20,000 objects from around the world, everything from theatres, marionettes and glove puppets to shadow figures and silhouettes.


There are around 2,000 from Asia, and some of the items date back to the 18th century.


As well as hosting exhibitions, the museum will put on shows in a 120-seat theatre, hold restoration workshops and maintain an archive.


 The couple came up with the idea 20 years ago but have finally brought it to fruition with the help of their son Marco, himself a puppeteer.


puppet4 Augusto Grilli checks his puppets on the stage at the " Alfa Theatre" in Turin.


In his tiny workshop near Alfa Teatro, the theatre he opened aged just 30 with his wife, Grilli works on his precious puppets.


 A drawer is filled with heads, while hundreds of eyes look out from an old wooden box.


 His son Marco has lived and breathed this magical world since childhood, and at 14 put on his first show.


Now 47, he has sought to carve out his own path by using hand puppets, and in 2010 was crowned the best in his field in Italy.


He says puppetry is about "entertainment and expression of the childish part of all of us, and our desire to keep playing

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