Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, a 2011 and 2015 ACC grant recipient, is well known for its performances of traditional and contemporary puppet theater in Taiwan. Located in the old district of Taipei, the puppet theater has recently been renovated. To celebrate the theater's opening, Group 33 North paid a visit to its new home on March 28, 2017.
Dr. Robin Ruizendaal, a longtime friend of ACC, was there to welcome the group. Robin is both co-founder and artistic director of Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, as well as director of Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum. Since he moved to Taiwan in early 90s, Robin has been promoting Taiwanese puppet theater on this island and abroad. With extensive research and fieldwork, he is considered one of the foremost authorities on Asian puppet theater.
Robin's strong ties with ACC is not limited to his theatre company. His 2009 publication, "Asian Theatre Puppets", a comprehensive collection of 300 photos of Asian theater puppets, was sponsored by ACC trustees, Désirée and Hans Michael Jebsen, Ernest Escaler, Abby and George O'Neil, and Michael Palin. The book was published in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the ACC Taiwan Fellowship Program.
Carrying a lighthearted smile, Robin introduced his fiancée Anne Rodier to Group 33 North and shared the great news that they are soon getting married. Anne, whom Robin met in Taiwan, is one of the foremost French Sopranos. She is a talented opera performer and is also actively involved in crossover performances with other fields like music, dance, theater, and video, as well as cultures.
The most recent of Anne's crossover performances is a collaboration between herself, Robin, and Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company -- an innovative glove puppet musical called "A Sailor's Tale." Group 33 North went to its debut performance on April 6 which was such a great success that it earned the whole-hearted laughter and applause of its audience. Congratulations to Robin and Anne on their collaboration and its success!