Vietnamese National Water Puppetry Theatre

Article Bio Works Projects www
everyday life, history, myth, nature, war, water
Performing Arts (puppet theatre)
Asia, Southeast
Viet Nam
created on:
July 10, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since November 18, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
information provided by:
 Vietnamese National Water Puppetry Theatre
The Vietnamese Puppet Theatre is an impressive visual and musical experience. © Photo: Wahidur Rahman Khandkar Czhoton


Vietnamese Puppet Theatre

Fire, water and puppets are the main elements in Vietnams National Puppetry Theatre. The performance - carried out by 19 persons, puppet players and musicians - consists of 17 scenes from Vietnamese daily life and legends. An impressive performance for all the family with fireworks, music and original entertainment.
Dragons with fire and ballet dancers on the surface of the water. It´s magical for all ages to catch this more than 1000-year old traditional puppetry theatre and their fabulous puppets moving on and out of the water while music is played live at the bank.

In the West we tend to associate puppets with children´s entertainment. But in the great eastern cultures, especially in India, China and Japan, puppets have for centuries been a serious art, usually performed for the pleasure of the emperor and his court.

This special theatre form was born along the big rivers. When the paddy fields were filled with water and the villages were ready for parties, the entertainer made his performance. Every city had its own puppet theatre. Animals and people pop up from the water to picture scenes from everyday life and legends. Everything is accompanied by traditional music and with singers, who act with the dolls.

"Apart from the entertainment, we want to give our public a better understanding of the Vietnamese people´s life and traditions", says the groups female director, Dang Anh Nga.

"It´s time to discover this traditional popular theatre. The Water Puppets have nothing to do with that pseudo folkloric amateurism prospering in the West. This is a complex art form at which to marvel"
(La Croix, France).
Author: Karin Bergquist


Hanoi´s traditional Puppet Theatre was formed after personal wish by Ho Chi Minh in 1956.

In 2004, the Puppet Theatre travelled to England, France, German, Slovenia, Croatia, Spain, and Taiwan.

In 2005, they performed three times in Taiwan (one of their troupes is still showing there), and in Thailand.

The director is Mr. Vuong Duy Bien. He is also the artist and sculpturer of the troupe.
The group´s previous director was Ms. Dang Anh Nga. She is now retired.


Hanoi Water Puppet Theatre

Production / Performance,
The one-hour performance tells about legends and everyday life of the Vietnamese people.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)


Vietnam Puppetry Theatre official home page