gertiDear guests of the festival,

It’s only a few days until Christmas, and only a few days until our programme for the International Puppetry Festival Wels 2019 goes online.

Today, with these words of welcome, I want to put a spotlight on the first word of our festival’s name: INTERNATIONAL – “active, known, or reaching beyond national boundaries“, as it is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

This year I have visited many nations around the globe for the 2019 festival, and I have taken with me especially one insight that has moved me deeply:
We are all from the same pot of soup: Somewhere in the heart of Africa, we are told by science, a species has started out locally and then spread globally. They have settled here and there, evolved to fit the different environmental challenges they faced, and finally built cultures that couldn’t be more colourful and diverse: humanity.

Thanks to our thirst for knowledge and new experiences, we now have a chance to get together once again. Modern communication systems and superfast means of travel make the world seem small and we find that borders and frontiers are nothing but agreements – not insurmountable walls.
Amongst others, there is one proof that we humans – no matter the colour of our skin or hair – are one species, a small gesture we all share: laughing, or its little relative the smile. It doesn’t matter if I smile at a flower seller in India, a park ranger in Florida, or a train conductor in Austria – I always receive a smile in return. We understand each other even without speaking the same language. We belong together.

With this said, I am happy to invite you, in the name of the town Wels, to an international festival programme. To an animated exchange of cultures, thoughts, and feelings. To a whole week of smiling together.

We are looking forward to seeing you (again)!
Gerti Tröbinger and the festival team