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Introducing Elena Molina, Pere Bigas, Raquel Batet and Bruno Valls, four young people who decided to devote their lives to making young and old people around the world smile.
They travel the globe with their show of handmade marionettes to anywhere there's a child ready to have a good time. They also collaborate with international cooperation activities, fostering solidarity and artistic exchange among cultures.
Thinking MU designed and manufactured the t-shirts that Marionetes Nòmades wear in their performances. It’s a pleasure to help the world smile a bit more.
Who are Elena Molina, Pere Bigas, Raquel Batet and Bruno Valls, and what prompted them to set up Marionetes Nòmades ('Nomadic Puppets')?
We are a team of young people from different professional backgrounds with a tremendous desire to share experiences and knowledge both here and (so far) in Africa.
Bruno and Pere are puppeteers, theatre folk. Elena is as an audio-visual producer, and Raquel is a jack of all trades who works as a technician on shows, as a sound engineer on audio-visual productions and as a nurse when we are on the road.
The reason we started Marionetes Nòmades was to make our dream a reality: to spread the gift of joy and universal magic through puppetry, anywhere in the world. We also wanted to take advantage of our journey to meet artists, puppeteers and our 'brothers of the guild', to learn from them and from one another.
Can you tell us the story of Marionetes Nòmades? How did it all start?
It all started with a very ambitious idea, which was to travel around Africa with puppets and music as our banners... all aboard a fire truck! In the end, we had to scale down the project for financial reasons, and after over a year of hard work, we spent January and February 2013 in Burkina Faso, thanks to a grant from the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Once there, we played over 20 shows and ran a number of workshops all over the country, in schools, orphanages, villages lost in the middle of the savannah, associations, theatres... At the same time, we met a lot of Burkinabe puppeteers: some of them joined us on stage, and others starred as the main characters in an audio-visual show directed by Elena which is going to grow along with the Marionetes Nòmades project.
Our next objectives: Togo and Benin this winter.
In your opinion, what is it that makes your project so successful?
At home and before leaving for Africa, the secret was our enthusiasm and the faith we conveyed when describing this project which has all the beauty of a dream.
In Burkina Faso, the key to how wonderfully Marionetes Nòmades was received was how unbelievably keen we were to share our project with everyone: people just couldn't believe we'd travelled this far to play free shows day in, day out. We wanted to learn new things and teach what we knew, and we were hugely interested in the local artists.
We were welcomed with open arms and made some wonderful friends. A lot of people helped us out.
And once we got home, even now, we retained the same enthusiasm and faith in the project. We also have access to audio-visual media, a valuable tool in that it allows us to promote our dream and get the support we need to move forward.
What are the most important things you've learned from Marionetes Nòmades?
From the process that has brought us this far, we have learned the importance of perseverance and of jointly pursuing the same goal. Projects can take off slowly, stumble across obstacles or change altogether, but you just have to keep going.
Our African experience has taught us that there is no better way to get anywhere than giving your very best. Nothing rivals a willingness to share when it comes to opening doors and people's hearts.
Any tips for entrepreneurs who dare to be innovative and creative in times like these?
I would tell them that they are needed, now more than ever before, not to give up, and that in this day and age, if they aren't there and no one dares to dream, if everyone just loses hope... then what?
To conclude, what are your thoughts on People For The Future?
It's an initiative that we feel follows a similar concept to our own project. The concept of sharing. A project like Marionetes Nòmades is one worth believing in. It makes those who share this vision stronger. If in addition we manage to come up with synergistic partnerships and ways to work together, we will grow stronger still.
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"Nothing rivals the willingness to share when it comes to opening doors and people's hearts"