Cengiz Özek Shadow Theatre is founded by Cengiz Özek in 1986. The aim of the company is to produce puppet and shadow theatre performances.

The first production was ‘Dünyayı Sev Yeşili Koru – Love the Earth, Protect the Green’, a play which was based on the shamanistic
sources of Karagöz.

His last creation, a black theatre project, ‘Benim Küçük Yıldızım – My Little Star’ has reached the audience and had very big success in Istanbul.

Having a vast repertoire of classical Karagöz plays, Cengiz Özek Shadow Theatre produced its first modern interpretation of Karagoz with ‘Çöp Canavarı – Garbage Monster’ in 1998.

Same year the first Istanbul International Puppet Festival is organised by Cengiz Özek. It was the first attempt in its context with performers and companies from all over the world.

The festival will be organised for 12th time this year with plays, exhibitions and work-shops on puppet and shadow thatre.

Cengiz Özek Shadow Theatre has been invited to many coutries since its foundation and performed more than 500 shows as well as workshops and exhibitions.

- Three shows in Tour -


This is a brand new and very dynamic piece which is based on the plays of 18th and 19th century. You will find every little detail belonging to a classical Karagöz play. This new play, which is based primarily on motions, is an epic interpretation of the shamanistic characters of the Karagöz plays. Use of word is minimal. The authentic instruments of Karagöz, ‘nareke’ and ‘def’ are placed in the play to underline the dramatic tension of the story. To have a general opinion about an authentic Karagöz play, this is the piece you must watch.

The environmentel structure of the play –concerning the worldwide problems of our time- has a great deal of impact to bond a silent communication with the audience which allowes us to perform frequently on international stages. The Magic Tree, which is in our repertoire for 10 years, has been performed nearly 500 shows.


Have you ever thrown your garbage into the sea? If so, have you ever thought about what will happen to it?

There’s a fish who’s job is to clean the seas! He does his job with a great sense of responsibility. This fish has eaten so much garbage and has been turned into a monster. But he is a good hearted monster. He resolutely tries to eat all the garbage and to keep the seas clean. He mostly hates pet bottles. Oh what’s that?! Karagöz is throwing a pet bottle into the sea! And suddenly the monster shows up and faces Karagöz. We’re following the fish under the sea; we’re going into the stomach of the monster; we’re sailing on the sea by Karagöz’s little boat; on a screen 150 x 100 cm. When the naive and attractive vision of all this scenery, comes together with tunes of traditional music, it makes a tremendous and fantastic world of shadow puppets.

Those who watch this fantastic comedy cannot believe that there’s only one person behind the screen to play so many figures.



We adapted “Magical Lamp” from Famous Danish children writer Andersen’s “Thump Girl”. In this way, we have given a new style to Karagoz by moving outside of its own world

Hacivat finds a lamp and takes it to Karagoz to have it cleaned. In old lamps usually a genie lives. But this genie is not a bad genie. Karagoz can ask whatever he wants. He has only 3 wishes. However, Karagoz is so indecisive that he turns as little as a thump. Poor Karagoz comes across giants; crow, frog, snake, mole, rat, stork. He asks about his lamp to all of them. But not everybody has good intensions. And from clouds to earth, through water, under bad weather conditions his adventure waits for him. In the end gold hearted genie saves him from this situation. Karagoz returns to his normal height and uses his wishes for his friends' happiness and health. Happy End!


Since 1989,
He performed around
5 continents
25 countries
75 towns

Here are the last 8 years:


Festival La Macchina Dei Sogni – Palermo, Italy
Festival Animar – Monserattoi, Sardinia, Italy
2009 Turkish Year in France, Café Turk – Museum Louvre, Paris, France
Internationaler Theatersommer im Lindenfels Westflügel – Leipzig, Germany
Kukart Puppet Festival - St. Petersburg, Russia
Istanbul International Puppet Festival – Istanbul, Turkey
Festival of Solo Puppeteers – Lodz, Poland (Magic Tree: UNIMA Poland Award)
Linz 09, Extra Europe – Austria
French School Festival – Istanbul, Turkey


Castale Mare Puppetfestival - Napoli, Italy
Barese Puppetfestival – Italy
Arlekino Domani – Milano, İtaly
Sarospatak Puppetfestival – Hungary
Book Festival – Seoul, Korea
Art Festival- Taiwan
Titirimundi Puppet Festival- Segovia, Spain
Izmir Puppet Days – Izmir, Turkiye
International Istanbul Puppet Festival- Istanbul, Turkey
23 April International Fair of Children – Amsterdam, Hollanda
International Puppet Days – Rome, Italy


International Children’s Festival - Neapolis, Tunus
The new year of the societies- Lecce, Italy
International Afife Festival – Viyana, Portugal
Eskisehir Festivali – Eskisehir, Turkey
Eskisehir Festivali – Eskisehir, Turkey
Welcome Ramadan – Köln, Almanya
Kıbrıs Olive Festival – Girne, Cypros
International Puppet Festival- Santiago de compostela, Spain
Le Festival Figure – Rome, Italy
Vertrag Pannopticum -Vienna
Black and White - İmatra/Finland
Glasgow Puppet Festival2007 - Scotland
Dynamic Puppet Festival2007 - Birmingham-England
International Istanbul Puppet Festival – Istanbul, Turkey
1. International Izmir Puppet Days - Turkey
23 Nisan Hollanda Turk Senligi - Holland


Lahor International Festival, Pakistan
The turks in the middle of Asia and Europe- Trento/ Italy
Girne Olive Festival, Girne, Nord Cyprus
World Puppet Festival, Charleville – Mezieres, France
International Theatre Festival, Nord Cyprus
Children Theatre Festival, Antalya, Turkey
International Sarospatak Puppet Days, Sarospatak, Hungary
Multikids International Children Festival, Vienna, Austria
IX International Puppet Festival, Istanbul, Turkey
International Chidren Theatre Festival, Bosnai, Sarayevo


International Chidren Theatre Festival, Neapolis, Tunisia
Days of Traviso Culture, Traviso, Italy
Lahor International Puppet Festival, Pakistan
International Puppet Festival, Izmir, Turkey
VIII International Alternativ Theatre Festival, Szeged, Hungary
International Punch Festival at Wiener Prater , Austria
World Festival Of Puppet Art, Praga, Check Rep.
VII International Puppet Festival - Istanbul, Turkey
Children Theatre Festival - Marrakech, Maroco
Turkish days - Strasbourg, France
International Puppet Festival - Tirana, Albania


International Chidren Theatre Festival, Neapolis, Tunisia
X International Puppet Festiva - Teheran, Iran
V International Puppet Festiva - l Colle Umberto, Italy
VII International Puppet Festival - Casale Montferrato, Italy
VI International Puppet Festival - Locarno, Swizerland
IV International Puppet Festival - Ovar, Portugal
III International Puppet Festival - Famalicao, Portugal
VII International Puppet Festival - Istanbul, Turkey
Puppets days - Cali, Colombia
Puppets days - Hanoi, Vietnam


International Puppet Festival ,Mistelbch, Austria
International Puppet Festival Beirut, Lebanon
Van –Istanbul meetings, Van, Turkey
Tunis, International Children Theater, Tunisia
Istanbul International Puppet Festival , Turkey
Evora International Puppet Festival, , Portugal


International Puppet Festival - Wels, Austria
Amsterdam Turkish Theater Festival - Netherlands
Istanbul International Puppet Festival - Turkey
Prague International Puppet Festival - Czech Rep.
Rijeka Puppet Festival - Croatia
International Puppet Festival - Barcelone, Spain
Tolosa International Puppet Festival - Spain
Gijon International Puppet Festival - Spain
Alicante International Puppet Festival - Spain


Vienna Turkish Days - Austria
Istanbul International Puppet Festival - Turkey
Catanya International Puppet Festival - Italy
Naples International Puppet Festival - Italy
Chicago International Puppet Festival - USA
Incanti - Torino, Italy
Bursa International Karagöz Festival - Turkey


Atatürk Association, 23rd April Celebrations - Germany
Istanbul International Puppet Festival - Turkey
Vienna International Children Festival - Austria
Lahor International Puppet Festival - Pakistan
Mistellbach International Puppet Festival - Austria
Strasbourg Days of Turkish Culture - France


Born in Istanbul, in 1964. Graduated from the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, University of Istanbul.

Participated to a numerous work-shops and courses in Mimar Sinan University, Traditional Turkish Ornement Arts Dept. and learned about ‘tezhip’, ‘miniature’, ‘kalem-işi’ and restoration in the Turkish Ornement Arts Course given by Prof. Dr. Süheyl Ünver. He assisted to the restorations of several historic buildings as a supervizor.

In High school he learned the fabrication of Karagöz figures from his teacher Ali Kıyak. He scanned several museums and private collections in order to enrich his knowledge about the subject. Today his own products, his own Karagöz figures ( made by camel leather ) and collections are exhibited in many museums, mainly Holland National Museum.

He performed Karagöz plays, opened exhibitions, organised work-shops and gave seminars on the subjects in numerous international festivals.

He assisted to the foundation of Turkish Stage Arts Museum. He was the museum’s counselor on Traditional Turkish Theatre and related subjects.

He worked in several theaters in Istanbul as manager, actor, assistant director and director. He designed many decors and posters for very well known plays. He founded and managed the Galeri Kenter; a gallery which supports the young artisits and situated in the lobby of Kenter Theater Kenter.

As a member of UNIMA, Özek founded Cengiz Özek Shadow Theater. The object of the company is to present modern plays which are originated from traditional Turkish theater techniques and to perform shows about puppet theater. He has also been awarded by UNIMA by means of his supports to the Turkish Puppet Theatre.

He gave lessons in the School Of Karagoz which is founded by Çocuk Vakfı ( Foundation of Child ). He became the pioneer of a younger generation to get them interested in the subject and to approach the Karagöz in a modern way. Later on he was awarded ( the Karagöz Award ) becuse of his work.

In 1998, he organized the first Istanbul International Puppet Festival. The main object of the festival is to introduce different styles of puppet theater to turkish audience. It is an annual festival and is very popular nowadays in Turkey.

Istanbul International Puppet Festival will have reached its audience for the 12th time this year, in may.

In 2008 he recieved the honorary award "Best Traditional Performance" for the production "Garbage Monster" by UNIMA Hungary.