The puppetry network Aura of Puppets has elected Timo Väntsi, a long-time puppet theatre artist, as its Executive Director. The association’s artist-led board explained the choice, among other things, by Väntsi’s strong knowledge of the field, in-depth knowledge of the industry, vision and insight into the association’s future, and love and care for the association’s work.
Väntsi is an active and productive artist from Turku, but he also has experience and professional skills in arts administration as a Theatre Director of Tehdas Teatteri (2012-2017) and as a Provincial Artist at Arts Promotion Centre Finland (2007-2009).
Aura of Puppets is a familiar association for Timo Väntsi, since he is is one of the founding members. Today, Aura of Puppets is a nationwide network of 70 puppet theatre professionals, bringing together artists working in the field, improving the visibility and experience of the art form.
The network provides its members with billing services, guidance in different aspects of production and participates in the realisation and support of dozens of contemporary puppet theatre productions every year. In 2022, there were 58 of these productions, including 19 premieres. In recent years, the focus for Aura of Puppets has been on promoting sustainable artistry, responsible employment and improving working conditions for artists.
Timo Väntsi is the first executive director with an artistic background in the network’s ten-year history. The new Executive Director sees artistry as an asset in the further development of the network. A rapidly growing association and challenging times, for example in cultural funding, require hard work.
“I’m interested in developing arts organisations and it certainly helps that I’ve been doing concrete work in puppetry for so long. Aura of Puppets has the basic structures in place, and now it’s time to review the course again, as living organisations should do every now and then.”
Väntsi considers the basic idea of the network to be essential: to create a productive and collegial framework for puppet theatre professionals through its core activities and projects, and to offer the public the most diverse, high-quality puppet theatre possible.
Aura of Puppets is a unique operator in the field of performing arts, operating both nationally and internationally, and its activities are first and foremost artist-driven. Based in Manilla’s Cultural Quarter in Turku, it houses an office, a workshop and a rehearsal space. However, the lack of a dedicated performance space is still a concern for the new executive director.
“We have many good partners, but I still long for a puppet theatre space in Turku. It would be a big step for the creators and would enrich our cultural offer. A big dream, big challenges, but we are openly exploring all kinds of possibilities.”
Timo Väntsi starts in the position from the beginning of November 2023, more info: timo(at)auraofpuppets.com