Puppet Play: There is a rich tradition of storytelling native to the town of Ambalangoda. Puppetry, although quite uncommon now, was once an important part of this. A few puppeteers from this region still engage in this imaginative and expressive art form. This experience gives you a satiating glimpse into this ancient form of theatre, which they preserve carefully. A small, rural industry once existed to support the making of puppets, the production of materials used in crafting them, and the design of sets to stage puppet plays. It is largely derelict now. Puppet play is presently restricted to shows concerning moral virtue and some folklore, staged a few times each year; put on usually as part of the festivities surrounding the Buddhist holiday of Vesak or during the full moon day (Poya) each month.

 The relevance of puppetry, as a distinct type of entertainment and a leisure activity for the entire family, has waned considerably. Its currency in ritualistic and cultural tradition too has withered. The entire village — from its headman to those from the perceived lower classes of society — would gather around such performances. Some of the older puppeteers speak of this era with much nostalgic affection. But a mini resurgence has occurred through the preservation efforts of these artisans and performers as well as the patronage of, both, local and foreign enthusiasts. There is renewed interest in local puppets and puppet play as a performance art. Its symbolic significance has carried it through. And we let you be a part of its revival through this distinct, alternate experience! An enthralling puppet show will be staged just for you. It can be combined with a meal or a leisurely drink or two, if sufficient prior notice is given.    

Ambalangoda’s rich but partly-forgotten tradition of puppetry is to be revived and developed with the establishment of Sri Lanka’s first puppetry museum with funding support from the local bank soon.

 

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