The Company “Charlemagne”

The Company “Charlemagne” was founded by the Enzo Mancuso, last descendant of the namesake family of puppeteers who started the business in Palermo in 1928, opening a puppet opera theater in the neighborhood Old Village.

The Mancuso Antonio Cavaliere, student of the puppeteer Partridge, moved its theater in several areas of Palermo and in various countries of the province, Also with the invention of a theater fixed above a truck , up to activate a permanent theater in the square in Palermo Don Luigi Sturzo, that remained active until his death, in 1988. The horseman was Mancuso great innovations in armor with helmets to Greek and Roman; for the performances of the shows made use of the aid of the children Nino, Pino and Stephen; had national notoriety by participating in Doubles or Nothing, one of the first broadcast on Italian TV, as expert History of the Paladins of France.

The Cav. Antonino Mancuso, grandfather of Enzo, and, backstage, Uncle Pino

His son Nino, Born in Palermo in 1934, age of 14 year staged its first cycle of the history of the paladins of France, in 360 evenings, in the country of Misilmeri near Palermo and continues to work with his father until his death; Nino is still a skilled puppeteer and is considered an expert manufacturer.

The father of Enzo, Nino Mancuso

Of his children only Enzo follows in the footsteps.

Enzo, Born in Palermo in 1974, is the owner of the company and therefore the son and grandson of art; takes the job as a child as a helper, begins at 13 very early years as a puppeteer with his first show “Death of Agricane”. Restores some puppets inherited from his grandfather and started his own business in 1994.

Enzo Mancuso: in’ Why

With the teaching of his father and uncle is dedicated to building the puppets, using the ancient techniques of old masters, putting on a few episodes from the history of the paladins of France. The young Enzo Mancuso, now considered the youngest puppeteer Palermo, He did not stop learning of the techniques of construction and of the maneuver, but thorough study of old “dishcloths” and perfected the technique of acting.

In 1999 puts on his show entitled Experimental “Opra crowds: puppets, cuntu and farce” by which manifests, beyond love for puppets, interest in the Cunto, ancient form of oral storytelling.

Also in 1999 Enzo and her company participates in the project funded by the City of Palermo “Opra and Tutui” at the Institute of the Kalsa Artigianelle (PA)

His company called Charlemagne has participated in several editions of important theater festival Figure: Morgana Festival and Puppet Night organized by the International Puppet Museum in Palermo; organized at the Dream Machine Association “Children art Cuticchio”; Review of the puppet theater organized by the Municipality of Sortino; the 30th Festival Sant'Arcangelo.

In 2000 Enzo Mancuso is called to lead a workshop(construction of puppets and puppet) in the auditorium of the Leonardo da Vinci Education Office of Palermo.

From 1999 to the 2005 The company is entered several times in summer events sponsored by the City of Palermo (The whole scene of Palermo and Palermo).

Even in 2002 Enzo is called a master-builder of the didactic and laboratory premises “Pallavicino” Palermo.

In 2003 Enzo opens a puppet theater in the Opera by way of Mary College in the Old Village neighborhood in Palermo, and each year organizes a superb program of shows.

From 2003, each year on behalf of the City of Palermo, at the Festin, is in their own theater “The Story of Santa Rosalia”;

in 2004 takes part with his performances in a big project called P. It. M. (Partnership Ethnografic Museums) and within this partnership between European ethnographic museums was present with his puppets at the Museum of Ethnography de Castilla y Leon (Zamora - Spain), the Musée de Normandie(Caen - France), to Muzejso Ethnografphic Brivdabas in Latvia and the Museum of Uses and Customs of the People of Trentino in Italy and precisely in Trento.

From 2005, as a permanent company of the International Museum of Palermo is every Tuesday and Friday, an incident related to the history of the paladins of France;

In 2005 Enzo Mancuso and her company in the project “grandparents to school” is called to lead a workshop for high school construction and states in state”Galileo Galilei”(PA) from past experience and strong by 2005 to the 2007 for the project “Snow White” for three years as a teacher is called to conduct a laboratory where he saw committed 10 school children P. Novelli of Monreale in the construction and recitation of the Sicilian puppets.

In 2006 behalf of the Department for Education(City of Palermo) participated in the project entitled “The school and the theater traditions” which had the purpose of making pre-school children discover the fantastic world of puppet opera;

In 2007 for the Municipality of Palermo has been assigned the task of restructuring the puppet theater of the Museum's ethnographic G. Pitre and inaugurate the 27 March with its new shows at the Museum (Palazzo Tarallo).

Again, As in previous years, and precisely the 20-21-22 April 2007, his puppet theater “Charlemagne” was adopted by the pupils of D.D. The Masa at the event “Palermo opens the doors - the school adopts the town”. This project, collaborative effort between the Department of Education and the Educational Policies of the City and the elementary schools, middle and high schools of the city is an event that engages school leaders, teachers and students, transforming them in guidebooks and has as its goal the education law through the appropriation of the local.

Also in 2007 his company, namely in July was present as a special event of the summer festival called “Summer 2007 In house Badoer” with its impressive performances in the spaces of Villa Badoer (stated in 2005 intangible asset of humanity by UNESCO ) in Polesine - Rovigo.

In 2008 in the month of May was present with his performances of traditional Sicilian puppets in Miranda de Ebro in Spain, respectively(Centro Cultural de Caja de Burgos), Burgos(Cultural Cordon- Caja de Burgos) and Aranda de Duero(Centro Cultural de Caja de Burgos), while in Germany in Bonn, the company has represented Sicily with a mini series of shows in the auditorium of the Kunstmuseum.

Also in 2008 in November the company with the show of puppets “death of the giant Gattamugliere” participated in the 1 ° “Storytellingfestival” organized by the Museum House of Antonino Uccello Palazzolo Acreide (Syracuse).

In 2009 within the XXXIV Morgana Festival organized by the International Puppet Museum in Palermo, the company accounted for two new productions on 28 November and 04 December respectively entitled "Rodomonte the battle of Paris and Cloridano and Medoro" and rinsavimento Orlando and triple duel of Lampedusa ".

In 2009 within the XXXIV Morgana Festival organized by the International Puppet Museum in Palermo Company represents two new productions in data 28 November and 04 December respectively entitled "Rodomonte the battle of Paris and Cloridano and Medoro" and rinsavimento Orlando and triple duel of Lampedusa ".

Also in 2009 for the third consecutive year for the entire December period organizes in its theater "Charlemagne" via the College of Mary,17 (Area Port of Palermo) the Review entitled "The tradition is art" where in addition to hosting other companies puppeteers, performing young storytellers and cuntastorie great talent..

In 2010, precisely in the first decade of August, is inaugurated with the shows of puppets "Orlando free Angelica" and "Thirteen wounds Rinaldo" the opening of the former tuna factory Florio of Favignana.

Also in August, the company Charlemagne is inserted in the summer program of the City of Bagheria(PA) and the billboard "summer Ambrosiana" Cefalu(PA).

As in past years, the company in November participates in the XXXV Morgana festival organized by the International Puppet Museum in Palermo representing n. 5 performances of the show "Carousel banned Charlemagne".

Also in November in Palermo, the company is a new production telling "the story of the landing of Garibaldi in Palermo";

In December, "The association Charlemagne" under the artistic direction of Enzo Mancuso was involved in the organization of the fourth edition of "Christmas traditions", exhibition of puppets, cuntastorie and storytellers.

In 2011, with the shows "Opra Crowds: puppets, cunto and farces "and" The Death of Giant Gattamugliera "the company was inserted in the summer circuit the municipalities of Bagheria, Trabia and S. Stefano di Quisquina; in September instead was This Casteldaccia inside the enchanting tuna fishery Only with the show of puppets "The Great duel of Orlando and Rinaldo ";

In November 2011, the company with a trio of episodes dedicated to the events of the brave Orlando was present to "Morgana Off" exhibition organized by the International Puppet Museum in Palermo;

In December, the company was included in the festival "Oral and intangible heritage festival" and was in Noto - Palazzo Trigona - Gagliardi room with the spectacle of puppets "La morte giant Gattamugliera" ; always in December for the Circuit Unesco the company was present with his performances in Misterbianco inside the plant Monaco;

Also in December for the Christmas program of the City of Favignana the company has once again represented in the former factory Florio of Favignana its traditional performances of puppets;

Lastly, once again, As in previous years, Association Charlemagne under the artistic direction of Enzo Mancuso was committed in the organization of the V edition of "Christmas is tradition", exhibition of puppets, songs and cunti.

In 2012 the Association in their own theater of puppets from the first months organizes a series of shows intended for a circuit entitled "Sicilian Puppet Shows"; always in 2012 on behalf of the Province of Palermo is called to lead a workshop on building Sicilian puppets entitled "The Art of the puppeteer", interested schools were: D.D. Palmeri Termini Imerese, D.D. Luigi Pirandello Bagheria and Almejda Palermo.

In summer the company with the show of puppets "Agricane the Tartar King "was present in Trabia, Ficarazzi, Lucca Sicula; the 21 and 22 October the company always with the puppets was present in Saluzzo(CN); while at Christmas for the 6th consecutive year organized the exhibition "Theatre and traditions ".

In 2013 the company given its success has repeated the experience organizing the 2nd edition of "Sicilian puppet Shows"; In May, the company was present in Rome doing a mini cycle performances of puppet theater Saint Lucia, while in June on behalf of the Italian Institute of Culture of Luxembourg with the show "The duel of Orlando and Rinaldo" was present in the municipal theater Esch- in Esch- sur-Alzette(Grand Duchy of Luxembourg). In summer the company with his puppets was present in Ficarazzi, Misilmeri, Termini Imerese. At Christmas this year organized the 7th edition titled "Christmas Traditions" exhibition of puppets, food e canti.

2014 – Also this year in our stable of puppet theater "CHARLEMAGNE" site in the district of Borgo Vecchio Palermo have revived programming stable of shows of Sicilian puppets in episodes related to the History of the Paladins of France; over the months we have represented : Death of King Pepin of France, The Farse of Nofriu and Virticchiu, The Adventures of Charlemagne, The Birth of Orlandino, Ruggiero Free Milone, Gratitude of Buovo with her children, The Death of the King of the Tartars Agricane, The Giant enchanted by the voice, The Adventures of Ruggiero of Africa, Arrival of Angelica in Paris, The Madness of Orlando and Duel and love between Bradamante and Ruggiero.

The 21-22-23 March the company He was in Rome at the National Museum of Arts and folk traditions with a classic opera puppet "THE Duel of Orlando and Rinaldo for the love of the beautiful Angelica;

in April As in previous years, We gave our availability the initiative promoted by the City of Palermo "Panormus, the school adopts the city XX Edition. "where he saw from 4 to the 6 April pupils of DD Orestano adopt our little theater and serve as guides to tourists and visitors in the city;

Throughout the company was engaged in May two laboratory where he saw the direct involvement of pupils in the first and second classes of secondary school 1st grade of S.M.S. Ignazio Florio Palermo with staging and the recitation of the show "The Duel of Orlando and Rinaldo for the love of the beautiful Angelica" and apprenticeship techniques tale(food) through the study and recitation of religious text in Sicilian dialect of the History of Santa Rosalia ;

In July, namely the 12-13-20-21 sponsored by the City of Palermo in our stable theater Charlemagne we represented on the occasion of the Feast of Palermo the show "Re Charlemagne King Imperaturi Rosalia Sinibaldi" and what show "The Duel of Orlando and Rinaldo for the love of the beautiful Angelica" and always the same dates pm 9,00 all 13,00 and from 14,00 all 18,00 we have always conducted under the auspices of the City of Palermo the laboratory "La Bottega del puppeteer" – how to build a Sicilian puppet (by assembling a naked body of a baby to the assembly of a baby armed);

The 23 and 24 July, acting within the event "Memory Knights" the company has been present in Agrigento, exactly in the Valley of the Temples - Temple of Juno with the spectacle of Cunto "Death of King Pepin and Carlotto flight" and with the show traditional puppet theater "Duel of Orlando and Rinaldo for the love of the beautiful Angelica";

In August the company during the Sagra del Nespolo Trabia(PA) represented the spectacle of puppet opera "The Malguerra Facts" and the summer program was also featured in Burgio(AG) and in Ficarazzi(PA);

In October the company was present with the traditional performance of the puppet theater "Duel of Orlando and Rinaldo" in Germany, namely the 15 and 17 in Monaco of Bavaria at the Istituto Italo-German school "Leonardo da Vinci" and the 18 and 19 October to Augsburg at the theater Abraxas

The 13 and 14 In November as part of educational activities "The puppet theater, Intangible World Heritage and promotional tool of legality values ​​"organized by Ignazio Buttitta Foundation we were with our puppets in Gagliano Castelferrato(IN) and in Troina(IN)

IL 6 December at the International Puppet Museum in Palermo in memory of Knight Nino Mancuso, disappeared in August 2013 , we organized an evening in memory of Maestro Nino Mancuso where the occasion is a video of Joseph Sinatra "was screened The Angelica" voices which assembled the most important moments of life as a puppeteer Nino Mancuso.

Also in December, namely the 18-19-20 once again under the patronage of the Municipality of Palermo we represented in our stable theater Palermo n. 3 the show "The replies Malaguerra Facts" and the workshop "La Bottega del puppeteer - how a baby".

Until today many festivals and many shows (see page Archive) which can be experienced in our Theater. We wait

Gallery of historical images of the Mancuso family

In this photo there are memorable photos of family history that the 1928 are “Puppeteers in Palermo”… In those years the theater was in operation 365 days a year and people came at night to see “the deed” Today as we turn on the TV…

The puppeteer

photos and text copyright © Carlo Di Franco ( ) – Click on photos to enlarge To tell the memorable exploits of the Knights of France, ancient knightly deeds, move, in an artificial theater, i “puppets "of wood, metal and cloth decorated and polished, to achieve by giving body and soul is the "puparu", an ancient craft, today …

The origin of the puppets in Palermo and Catania

Text and photos by © Enzo Mancuso, Click on photos to enlarge E 'extremely difficult to pinpoint what time of the puppets are born (Latin Pupus, which means little boy) and the place from which this tradition; the first and few examples have been written by Giuseppe Pitre (founder of demologia, the science that studies the events, …