One of the best well known Myanmar traditional theatre performances in Myanmar is the Mandalay Marionette Theatre (also known as Mandalay Puppet Theatre). First founded by two ladies in 1986, the troupe started their performance by performing for the tourists coming to Myanmar. The two founders were Ma Ma Naing, daughter of U Thein Naing, the writer of Burmese Puppet Theatre (1966) and Naing Ye Mar. The troupe is supervised by Dr. Tin Maugn Kyi, a researcher on Myanmar puppet, U Pan Aye and U Shwe Nan Tin, seasoned and well respected puppet masters. The troupe has won a number of national awards, and has performed in various foreign countries.
The daily performance consists of two or three parts depending on the program. The parts are
Part 1 – Introduction to Myanmar traditional dance and music
- Musical prelude by a traditional Myanmar orchestra
- Traditional harp
- Candle light dance (Bagan dance)
Part 2 – Myanmar puppet show
- Traditional opening – worshipping of spirits
- Himalaya scene – a traditional scene where the story teller recounts the creation of earth and universe
- Alchemist (Zawgyi) dance
- Royal Page Boy’s dance
- Competitive dance (between a puppet and a human dancer)
- Prince and the princess dance
Part 3 – Buddha’s Story and/or Ramayana Story (optional part)
This part recounts a popular tale of Gautama Buddha’s past life stories, or a scene from popular Hindi story, The Ramayana.
Duration of the show is one hour for part 1and part 2, or one and half hour for part 1, 2 and 3. The theatre runs the show every day at 8 PM. The entrance fee is US$ 8 per person. You can also buy beautiful Myanmar traditional puppets: prices start at US$ 6 per piece.
You can visit the Mandalay Marionette Theatre at
Editor’s Note: Many of the above information has been obtained from our reference book Lonely Planet Guide to Myanmar (Burma)