|People's Artist Nguyen Tien Dung.
Tien Dung’s father, Hoang Luan, is one of Vietnam’s elite artists who founded the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre. Dung was introduced to puppetry at an young age and often followed his father to performances across Vietnam. Trained to become an actor for Vietnam’s Military Theater but Dung decided to pursue his true passion by working for the National Puppetry Theatre.
“I love puppetry. My father used to work at the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre, so I often came there during summer break to watch his shows. Having worked at the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre since 1998, I can confidently say that puppetry is my passion and I will never give it up,” said Dung.
Puppetry has become an inseparable part of Dung’s life. As a director, Dung always tries to create something fresh, distinctive, and exciting to entertain the audience. He’s always looking for new ways to make the puppets come alive on stage and tell stories that touch the audience’s hearts.
“The development of the art of puppetry depends on the artists. Puppeteers like me and my colleagues should try to keep up with global trends, pushing ourselves to stay up to date and improve our skills and knowledge. I think that is the most important and difficult challenge. Puppeteers need to breathe life into their puppets and performances,” said Dung.
| A scene from puppet show "Life of Kieu" directed by Nguyen Tien Dung.
To Nguyen Tien Dung, there are more to being a puppeteer than skilled hands. Puppeteers need to use their creativity and knowledge to secure a position for puppetry among other forms of stage art.
“Tien Dung has a deep passion for art. He always comes up with new ways to promote puppetry performances. The theater has made great progress under his leadership,” said Nguyen Hong Phong, an artist working at the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre.
‘Dong Vong roi Viet’, a show Nguyen Tien Dung himself directed, was a huge success, thanks the combination of water puppetry, land puppetry, folk music, and traditional and modern art. The show involved stick puppets, foot puppets, mask puppets, and string puppets to deliver to the audience a unique experience.
Tien Dung believes meticulousness, patience, and attention to detail are vital to every puppet show, long or short, big or small.