2nd Pakistan Biggest String Puppetry Festival
June 22, 2020
Thespianz SALU Folk Festival
June 27, 2020

1st Pakistan Biggest String Puppetry Festival

1st Longest Puppetry Festival to

“Acceptance, Resilience & CVE”

Countering Violence & Extremism – Pakistan’s Puppetry Festival aims to bring the ancient art of puppetry to new audiences while at the same time teaching inter-faith harmony.
SDG Goals Achieved!Following UN SDG Goals Achieved!

  • Goal #04 Quality Education
  • Goal #17 Partnerships for the Goals

About Project:

The first festival began on 25 October 2016 with the aim to heal the Karachi city through 300 various string puppetry performances in 79 schools, colleges, and universities. Three plays Jheel Saiful MalookSindbad and one promoting harmony between the four provinces were presented. In this project, our all three performances were based on CVE awareness through various aspects of entertainment. When we staged these string puppetry plays in targeted communities, we obtained people’s positive response more than from our expectation, whether the performance took place in community or for the students, we noted massive margin or awareness through our performance. We have received various quotation (after each performance) from the attendees of the performances which can describe that how we got succeeded to achieve our objective through String puppetry performances.







Project In-Brief:

The program completed all the deliverable properly on time. By the end of program tenure, November 2016, all activities have been done and required number of 300 performances have been completed as scheduled. Team Thespianz reached to 26,486 individuals and delivered core message of creating awareness of CVE for promoting a resilient society. Program attracted a number of young enthusiastic students of Universities and colleges also to understand CVE and promote the cause as ambassador to their peers and larger community groups.Almost all program activities were planned in advance and all alignments in schedule were made with consent and approval of the donor in advance to ensure donor’s officials’ participation in the activities when and where it was possible. Activities of “String Puppetry Festival” went at full swing and remarkable response was being observed in resident communities during their participation in events.

We often have no place to take our children for entertainment purposes. It is good that my children can see theatre like I used to see when I was a child

Hina – House Wife

My children are very young, but they love stage performances and I can see that they are often mesmerized by the lighting and the movement

Imtiaz Khhoso – Resident of the area

Theory of Change:

Thespianz has achieved the project objective “to create strong community linkages to support dissemination of CVE message”. As this was the gigantic outreach project Thespianz ever executed, thus the erudition from this project is really vast. Through this project we have reached out in more than 150 communities outreach in which we have established concrete linkages with each of community stakeholder and got solid commitment with them to have further activities in their areas/communities in future. As well as we started inviting them in Thespianz’s various activities (Theatre and other performing arts). Through this project, we have established a tangible data base of 300 places where these performances been executed, that have complete addresses with the name of our all outreaches that will be fruitful for us in the future and other projects as well.

Message of Peace:

It was perhaps for the first time in Pakistan that such an institute of performing arts has been using CVE themes in their theatre performances. People got opportunity through this festival to find a galaxy of distinguished artists working for peace and harmony with the promotion of these arts with a missionary zeal. Crisis management is an important notion team learnt in all its operations. It was the team work that led the troupe Thespianz to meet all challenges during execution of community based project. While implementing the project team got to know about the prevailing challenges which could hinder the process. This helped team to carry out risk management in efficient manner. Furthermore it gave an insight about the area traits which may leverage the program execution.

1st Pakistan string Puppetry festival thespianz (9)

Puppet Play Synopsis


Sometime in the distant past, there was a ruler who lived in Pakistan; he was a youthful, tall, prepped and bold men who doesn’t have confidence in Lie and Forgery he have solid confidence on humankind and he cherishes the individual. One day he saw a dream, in the dream he saw a beautiful lake incognito by hilly valley, lake was perfectly clear like crystal; different little stars were spreading in the encompassing of the lake. When he stepped forward so his brain couldn’t have confidence in his eyes, he saw an extremely gorgeous young lady (Badr-e-Jamal Fairy) over yonder, who were strolling around that lake, that was a full moon night and the fairy was amazingly flawless, prince Saiful Maluk couldn’t have the capacity to occupy his look from her, he was taking after that excellence and all of a sudden fairy’s feet faltered with a stone and Saif opened his hand to hold her, by seeing this, Prince Saif got up from his dream, he were feeling a strange feeling, he got truly tragic and had tears in his eyes.

Theatre is a form of using body language and speech, and by helping children and families to be associated with us. You help us with speech therapy and also how to use their bodies without feeling ashamed

Naheed Alam – Local NGO Worker

The main puppet character “Butterfly female puppet in peacock dress” and all other characters who represented the folk dances of Pakistan really enthralled the audience

Kumar Singh – Hindu Fruit Seller

Project Overall Impact


About Resilience & Acceptance

Participants reflected remarkable involvement during the performances and showed great urge to learn positive life traits and bringing peace and harmony. Participants shared proper feedback, asked for guidance and counseling where it was needed mainly during interactive discussion sessions and sometimes after the performance. The discussion sessions have been a great success due to high engagement of community members and youth in institutions. Facilitators of these interactive sessions include seasoned artists and professional team of Thespianz who have already experience to work with community closely. Puppetry performances with specific essence of CVE gave students opportunity to learn with fun. They got interacted the professionals there to know about the avenues and ways to contribute their role for community development.
Groups of students initiated to disseminate their learning and experiences during String Puppetry Performances to larger groups of community. They carry the objective of creating awareness about community service and pursuing right approaches for bringing positivism in society.
Thespianz String Puppetry (5)

Puppet Play Synopsis


This story is about a man, who was so poor and he cuts wood to earn his living but on the other hand he has a selfish brother who was well established but never helped his brother, still he was happy with his life. One day, while he was cutting woods, he saw lots of people together, standing in front of a cave and asking it to open “Khulja sim sim” When it opened, all thieves entered in the cave and after 10 to 15 minutes they left it, Ali heard it and said the same word to open the cave, while the thieves were gone, he entered in the cave and collected some of the gold coins that were present in the cave. He shared this story with his wife and both were so happy about it but on the other hand Ali’s brother got to know about the cave asked Ali to open it. He entered in the cave but when he tried to get out from the cave, he forgot the word which helps cave to open it; suddenly thieves arrived and killed Ali’s brother because he knew the secret about the cave. Next day head of Thieves ordered his servant that who else knows about our secret. They visited the town and got information that Ali knows about their secret so the head of the thieves planned to stay a night in Ali place with his thieves but he hide thieves in the oil drums and went into Ali house by saying that he has no shelter to stay if he could stay a night there. Ali welcomed him in his house, but at night Ali’s maid heard some voices from drums so she put some hot oil in every drum and killed every single thief and next day she killed the head.



Schools Students

Communities Participation

Colleges/Universities Students

Indoor Audience

Project Locations:

Location Significance:

The areas/localities where the festival’s performances were conducted included:

  • North Karachi
  • Nazimabad
  • Pak-Colony
  • Golimar
  • Sohrab Goth
  • F. B. Area
  • Gulshan e Iqbal

  • Kemari
  • Soldier Bazar
  • Lyari
  • Korangi
  • Sultanabad
  • Hijrat Colony
  • Manghopir

Geographical Magnitude:

The participants in these performance events were from under-privileged areas where opportunities for learning, counseling and developing right sense for community service are very rare. The participants come from very diversified back grounds and represent variety of ethnicities, faiths, social, cultural and professional backgrounds. They were from different ethnicities like Urdu speaking, Sindhi, Punjabi, Baluchi, Pashtun, Memon, Persian, Hazara, Balti, Brushiski, Siraiki, and Gujrati etc.  They represent diversified religious and sectarian backgrounds as well, e.g. Shia, Sunni, Ismaili, Hindu, Christian etc.

Project Team:

Project team organized these puppetry performances in North Karachi, Nazimabad, Pak-Colony, Golimar, Sohrab goth, F. B. Area, Gulshan e Iqbal including its under-served peripheries, PIB colony, Kemari, Soldier bazzar, Lyari, Korangi, Sultanabad and Hijrat Colony and even in the areas which are considered sensitive in terms of violent and extremist elements i.e. Manghopir and peripheries of Korangi town. Most of these areas are known because of prevailing violent extremism, crimes and sectarian clashes. Youth from these areas are vulnerable and inclined towards violence and extremism due to lack of alternatives.  Young girls tend to be overtly protected by families and are mostly confined at home where they spend most of their time in most of these areas. In order to support the family financially, most youth from these areas quit studies and get small jobs.

The participants

Include both, those who were working and studying after their working hours and those who were students. The participants’ professions include restaurant waiter, school peon, office clerks, intern or entry level position at non-profit organization, sales person, call center representative, office administrator, mobile phone technician, textile sales representative, teachers, private tutors, small business owner etc. The groups also include students who were from financially challenged family background and are preparing for some competitive exams.
Team Thespianz also organized String Puppetry Performances in centrally located venues like Lincoln Corner at PACC and at Liaqatliabrary, Khursheed Begum Memorial Hall, Commune Artist Colony and Dar-u-Sukoon. People from a variety of walks of life attended performances at these locations and reflected their interest in subjects of Puppet performances.

Moreover team continued performances in Universities and Colleges as well. String Puppetry Performances were conducted in Preston University, Indus University in Clifton and Gulshan Iqbal campuses, Iqra University in Gulshan e Iqbal and Main campus, SSAT College, Dadabhoy College and in iACTin  Saudabad. A number of young enthusiastic participants attended these events and reflected positive gestures on using such interesting avenue to promote peace and harmony in communities.

Succes Stories


The main puppet character “Butterfly female puppet in peacock dress” and all other characters who represented the folk dances of Pakistan really enthralled the audience

Kumar Singh – Fruit Seller from PIB Colony


Pakistani art is rich in nature and the artists of Pakistan have worth in the world and are acknowledged for their aesthetic sense

Rahmeen Anjum – Bengal Refugee from Mominabad


Thespianz exposed us to the enlightened traditions in the fields of music, poetry and arts

Rabia Fatima – Teacher from Manghopir


Those who educated in the English Medium Schools readily adopted Western styles and valuing forward progress

Asif Ali – Carpenter from Kemari


A teacher shared, “This is best way to convey message of peace

Tayyaba Danish – House Wife from Sultanabad


Preaching humanity is the thing which can bring Peace

Nausheen Malik – UBL Bank Emploee from Gulshan Iqbal


I can say that, we should improve our environment through this message of performance”. A female participant

Ranjeet Singh – Tyre Puncture Maker from Soldier Bazaar

Watch Videos


News Coverage

Karachi theatre prompts spectators to shun extremism


Pakistan Forward

Art of storytelling: Exploring the world of puppetry


Express Tribune

String puppetry festival begins


Dawn News

Colours of Pakistani culture displayed at puppet show


Express Tribune


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