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Resources > Collections > Artist Myanmar Marionettes Theatre Co Ltd

Myanmar Marionettes

Myanmar Marionettes is a Mandalay-based string puppetry company founded by Ma Ma Naing and Naing Yee Mar in 1986. As an art tradition that has developed for over 500 years in Myanmar, yoke thé—or marionette string puppetry—is integral to Burmese culture as a form of artistic expression that educates the public on matters of history, religion, customs, and current affairs through the narratives they present. In the beginning, the art of yoke thé existed mainly in Royal Patronage but has since evolved to reflect the daily practices of the people and contemporary society. A yoke thé performance integrates various art forms, such as dance, music, sculpture, sequin embroidery, and painting. 

Due to the rapid advancement of modern cinema and the abrupt end of royal patronage, the art of string puppetry declined in support and public interest. As a group of a team of professional artists, the Myanmar Marionettes’ founding ethos is to revitalise the traditional art form. The collective provides a platform for locals or foreign visitors of Mandalay to learn about the craft. Myanmar Marionettes Theatre has performed in numerous countries across Asia, Europe, and North America in the last few decades.

Today, besides touring abroad and performing at their Mandalay theatre, the Myanmar Marionettes’ daily operations involve educating future artists specialising in theatre. They also collaborate regularly with local communities and cultural organisations, such as the Mandalay Region Libraries Foundation, with goals to promote literary awareness among young school children in local communities. Today, the Myanmar Marionettes strives to provide entertaining performances and educate their audiences on the rich history and cultural values of Myanmar’s theatrical arts.

Alongside her pioneering efforts in founding Myanmar Marionettes, Daw Ma Ma Naing is the chairperson of the Myanmar Theatrical Organization.