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May 12, 2012

This video describes a project called the Puppetry Theatre TOT - Oman 2012 (PTTT), specifically tailored for Oman, conducted May 8-12 2012 to train participants and acquaint them with the proficiency of trainers in the art of puppetry theatre. The final performance took place on May 13 at the Omani Ministry of Education Auditorium showing various sketches, including the topics of early marriage, school bullying, and road safety. The programme was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Area Office.

The purpose of the training was to explore new possibilities in the art and craft of puppet theatre, as well as to equip the participants with new tools to maximise their outreach to several segments of the community, particularly children, adolescents and youth, and people with special needs. It was designed with a focus on civic engagement, peer education, youth empowerment, women's empowerment, and reproductive health, in line with the mandate of the UNFPA. Participants included instructors from the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs, the Oman Association for the Disabled, and teachers from the primary education, as well as sports instructors from the Department of Private Schools of the Ministry of Education, and members of UNFPA's Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) of Oman. Another goal of the training was to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness, in which the participants from the different groups worked together as a team to enhance their techniques and make the final performance a success.

The workshop, conducted by a team of trainers led by Mahmoud Al Hourani, Director of the Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation (APTF), explored the history of puppetry, its classical and contemporary forms, shadow theatre, and the manipulation of inanimate objects, including puppet making out of recycled goods. It gave participants practical and theoretical knowledge of puppetry through a series of short performances, discussions, participatory exercises, group work, and lessons on production of puppets and props.

The practical sessions of the workshop provided participants with an opportunity to experience the characteristics of animating objects, manipulating different kinds of puppets such as marionette, gloves puppets, and acting behind a shadow screen. According to the organisers, having the skills of puppetry as a means of education is significantly important for empowering the youth with a means of self expression. It also acts as a medium of communication within and outside the classroom.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA's four strategies for ensuring opportunities for young people include: incorporating youth issues into national development and poverty-reduction strategies; expanding access to gender-sensitive sexual and reproductive health education that encourages the development of life skills; promoting a core package of health services and commodities for young people; and encouraging youth leadership and participation.

The APTF is a platform to revive, continuously challenge, and rethink the artform of puppetry in the Arab World. The foundation supports the professional development of artists associated with puppetry and embraces new methods in the field.


Emails from Salah Al-Saleh to The Communication Initiative on December 6 2012 and December 11 2012.