Who we are

The Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation (APTF) was founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage puppetry practices throughout the Arab world and advance new developments in the field whilst simultaneously functioning as an established puppetry school and theatre.

The Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation (APTF) was founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage puppetry practices throughout the Arab world and advance new developments in the field whilst simultaneously functioning as an established puppetry school and theatre.

APTF was born out of a need for a space in the Arab world for curious and passionate students interested in the art of puppetry. The initiative is the very first of its kind and provides a vital platform to revive, advance, continually challenge and rethink puppetry in the Arab world whilst encouraging and supporting the professional development of any artists interested in puppetry practices.

We provide skills and specialized programs for experienced and novice puppeteers, including puppet-makers, educators, social workers, human rights workers, and librarians. We also collaborate with artists, professionals, and local and international NGOs from a variety of complementary fields and disciplines which means we are constantly evolving and exploring new and exciting possibilities in our field.

Since 2008, APTF has held specialised residencies in Lebanon, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Qatar, and Tunisia, using an advanced curriculum to instruct students in diverse methods related to the making, performance, and use of puppetry. We also design specialized workshops with partnering organizations and provide training sessions, organize festivals and performances, offer services, assist the educational sector, and produce publications and material on puppetry and additional subjects in the Arab world.

Our headquarters have been based in Lebanon for the last ten years, with our physical school and theatre space in Beirut acting as the central hub for our activities. It has brought together youth residing in diverse places across the Arab world, providing them with the ability to train, perform and develop as artists. This vital space has been used for puppet making, creating and staging performances, hosting lectures and discussions, housing APTF residencies and workshops, holding an archive of puppetry literature, and it has also been the home of APTF offices.

However as of 2019, we at APTF have decided to expand our horizons and take the foundation into its next phase, relocating to London and undertaking our biggest project yet which we are thrilled to reveal in the coming months.

APTF was established in Lebanon in compliance with the Lebanese Associations Law by the Ministry of Interior on August 3, 2009 under decree no.1236.

Mission and Vision


Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation seeks to encourage and support the professional development of artists associated with puppetry in the Arab world.


Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation strives to revive, advance, continually challenge, rethink puppetry in the Arab world and to become an open platform for Arab artists to showcase and enhance their talents.

Advisory Board

  1. Sawsan Darwaza - Theatre and Film Director / Jordan

    Sawsan is a theater and film director who usually works on collective projects in an attempt to explore new zones in the field of art.

    She is now a director and managing partner in a production company in Amman Jordan, Ma3mal 612 Company, and the creative director in Mir at Media production house.

  2. Fadia Tannir – Puppeteer & Actress / Lebanon

    Fadia is a professional puppeteer, actress and drama teacher. Over the last 25 years, she has performed in a number of plays, puppet shows, and films.

    Fadia directs and performs in the plays of Les Amis des Marionnettes. She has a particular gift to enthrall young audiences and those young at heart.

  3. Sally Todd - Sculptor and Visual Artist
    Steve Tiplady - Puppetry Artist and Director

    Indefinite Articles Theatre Company (since 1995), is an open theatre project that transforms ordinary objects and materials into innovative shows for both children and adults.

    Sally Todd is a sculptor and visual artist. She makes objects and installations as well as working with puppets.

    Steve Tiplady has been using puppetry in his work since 1989. He was the puppet director of several major performances in London.

    Steve and Sally are members of our core team of trainers at APTF.

  4. Mahmoud Mejri – Academic Director, Institut Supérieur des Arts Dramatiques (ISAD) / Tunisia

    Having conducted his graduate studies in France, Dr. Mejri wrote several books and articles about puppet theatre in Tunis and the Arab world.

  5. Margrit Gysin - Switzerland

    Margrit is a graduate of J. Lecoq Theatre School in Paris and specializes in the use of puppets in therapy.

    Since 1976, Margrit worked as a freelance puppet theater performer, teaching and conducting workshops in the fields of theater and education.

  6. Marwa Seoudi - Cultural Operator / Egypt

    Marwa Seoudi graduated from the American University in Cairo with a major in mass communication. She studied photography and graphic design.

    She is currently an active member in a number of cultural organizations and independent theatre groups.

  7. Shaker Said - Puppetry Artist, popular imagination / Egypt

    Shaker is an expert in puppet theatre, an actor, director and theatre workshop leader. He has also produced and presented a television series for children.

    He is a member of the popular imagination collective which develops street performances for disadvantaged children in general and street children in particular.

  8. Steven Whinnery – Mask Artist and Performer / GB

    Steven specializes in mask making with over 30 years experience in the theater.

    Steven came to Beirut and taught mask making at APTF’s Beirut 2012 residency.

Founding members

Mahmoud Al-Hourani
Nadine Bekdache
Bilal El-Amine
Maha Issa
Nathalie Bekdache


Figurentheater Margrit Gysin – Switzerland
Les Amis des Marionnettes – Lebanon
Kahraba Collectif – Lebanon
Handspring Puppet Company - South Africa
National Puppet Theatre in Tunisia
Al- Madina Theatre – Lebanon