Yangzhou Puppetry Research Institute (Jiangsu Provincial Puppet Troupe)
With a long and profound history, Yangzhou's rod puppetry has been designated a nationally protected intangible cultural heritage item, a key national cultural tourism item, and an exemplary item for cultural service export. The Yangzhou Puppetry Research Institute (Jiangsu Provincial Puppet Troupe) was founded in 1957 on the basis of the Yangzhou Puppet Troupe. It is one of the most influential and largest professional artistic groups in China, specializing in the creation and rehearsal of puppet shows, puppet design and production, and the training of puppetry professionals. It is a high-level, professional team that always dares to explore, experiment, and innovate.
For more than 60 years, the Yangzhou Puppetry Research Institute has adhered to a people-centered approach to artistic creativity, and has created a large number of outstanding plays, including more than 30 large puppet and human-puppet shows such as "Sun Wukong Strikes the White Bone Demon”, "Chang'e Flies to the Moon”, "Qiong Hua the Fairy”, "The New Adventures of the Three Monks”, "Snow White”, "The Calabash Brothers”, "The Prince of the Forest”, "The New Tale of Chang'e Flying to the Moon”, "Goodbye, Daddy Bear”, "The Magic Box”, "Tiger Cubs on the Railway", and "The Legend of Nezha". It has also developed over 100 traditional dance and acrobatics plays such as "The Emperor's New Clothes”, "The Fisherman and the Goldfish”, "Wu Song Fights the Tiger”, "The Tiger and the Fox”, "The New Tale of Sun Wukong Striking the White Bone Demon”, "The Martial Arts Contest”, "Man Jiang Hong", "Long Silk Dance", "Fan Rhyme", "Puppet Calligraphy", "Zheng Banqiao Painting a Picture", "Face-changing and Fire-spouting”, "Playing with the Prayer Beads”, and "Chang'e Spreading Here Long Sleeves". It has won numerous awards such as the National Wenhua Award, the Best Plays Award at the “Golden Lion Award” China Puppetry and Shadow Play Festival, the Best Performance Award at the National Youth Puppetry and Shadow Puppetry Skills Exhibition, Jiangsu Provincial Stage Arts Choice Works Award and Jiangsu Provincial Wenhua Award. Every year, the institute wins support from the China National Arts Fund (CNAF) for some of its outstanding works.
Over the years, the Yangzhou Puppetry Research Institute has focused on commercial performance and has steadily advanced the branding of Yangzhou puppetry, achieving both social and economic benefits. It has accompanied government delegations at the national, provincial, and municipal levels to visit more than 50 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and has been designated a National Outstanding Unit in the Cultural Sector, a Jiangsu Provincial Base for International Cultural Exchange, and a Jiangsu Provincial Base for Overseas Chinese Cultural Exchange.
The Yangzhou Puppetry Research Institute is also a training base for Chinese puppetry professionals. It has 14 national, provincial, and municipal-level ICH (intangible cultural heritage) inheritors for rod puppetry and 29 elite performers; and 19 of its staff members have obtained professional titles at or above the associate professorial level. It has successively hosted the fourth and fifth China Puppetry and Shadow Play Festivals, and has undertaken two CNAF-supported programs: the national "Training Session for Puppet Makers" and the "Puppet Performers Training Session”, which trained puppet makers and performers from across the country towards excellence in both artistic talent and ethical standards.