Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance that involves the
manipulation of puppets – inanimate objects, often resembling some
type of human or animal figure, that are animated or manipulated by a
human called a puppeteer. Such a performance is also known as a puppet
play. The puppeteer uses movements of her hands, arms, or control
devices such as rods or strings to move the body, head, limbs, and in
some cases the mouth and eyes of the puppet. The puppeteer often
speaks in the voice of the character of the puppet, and then
synchronizes the movements of the puppet's mouth with this spoken
part. The actions, gestures and spoken parts acted out by the puppets
are typically used in storytelling.
There are many different varieties of puppets, and they are made of a
wide range of materials, depending on their form and intended use.
They can be extremely complex or very simple in their construction.
The simplest puppets are finger puppets, which are tiny puppets that
fit onto a single finger, and sock puppets, which are formed from a
sock and operated by inserting one's hand inside the sock, with the
opening and closing of the hand simulating the movement of the
puppet's "mouth". A hand puppet is controlled by one hand which
occupies the interior of the puppet and moves the puppet around (Punch
and Judy puppets are familiar examples of hand puppets). A "live-hand
puppet" is similar to a hand puppet but is larger and requires two
puppeteers for each puppet. Marionettes are suspended and controlled
by a number of strings, plus sometimes a central rod attached to a
control bar held from above by the puppeteer.
Puppetry is a very ancient form of theatre which was first recorded in
the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece. Some forms of puppetry may have
originated as long ago as 3000 years BC.
Puppetry takes many forms,
but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing
objects to tell a story.
Puppetry is used in almost all human
societies both as entertainment – in performance – and
ceremonially in rituals and celebrations such as carnivals.
1.2.1 East, Southeast and South Asia
1.3 West Asia
Ancient Greece and Rome
1.4.4 Great Britain
1.4.5 Netherlands, Denmark, Romania, and Russia
1.4.6 Germany and Austria
1.4.7 Czech Republic
1.4.8 19th century
1.5 North America
2 Contemporary era
3 See also
6 Books and articles
7 External links
Puppetry is a very ancient art form, thought to have originated about
4000 years ago. Puppets have been used since the earliest times to
animate and communicate the ideas and needs of human societies.
Some historians claim that they pre-date actors in theatre.[citation
needed] There is evidence that they were used in
Egypt as early as
2000 BCE when string-operated figures of wood were manipulated to
perform the action of kneading bread. Wire
controlled, articulated puppets made of clay and ivory have also been
found in Egyptian tombs.
Hieroglyphs also describe
"walking statues" being used in ancient Egyptian religious dramas.
Puppetry was practiced in ancient Greece and the oldest written
records of puppetry can be found in the works of
Xenophon, dating from the 5th century BCE.
Sub-Saharan Africa may have inherited some of the puppet traditions of
ancient Egypt. Certainly, secret societies in many African ethnic
groups still use puppets (and masks) in ritual dramas as well as in
their healing and hunting ceremonies. Today, puppetry
continues as a popular form, often within a ceremonial context, and as
part of a wide range of folk forms including dance, storytelling, and
masked performance. In the 2010s throughout rural
Africa, puppetry still performs the function of transmitting cultural
values and ideas that in large African cities is increasingly
undertaken by formal education, books, cinema, and
East, Southeast and South Asia
Traditional Burmese "commander-in-chief" marionette character
There is slight evidence for puppetry in the Indus Valley
Civilization. Archaeologists have unearthed one terracotta doll with a
detachable head capable of manipulation by a string dating to 2500
BC. Another figure is a terracotta monkey which could be
manipulated up and down a stick, achieving minimum animation in both
cases. The epic Mahabharata,
Tamil literature from the Sangam Era,
and various literary works dating from the late centuries BC to the
early centuries AD, including Ashokan edicts, describe puppets.
Works like the
Natya Shastra and the
Kamasutra elaborate on puppetry
in some detail.
Wayang theater was influenced by Indian traditions.
Some scholars trace the origin of puppets to
India 4000 years ago,
where the main character in
Sanskrit plays was known as "Sutradhara",
"the holder of strings".
Wayang is a strong tradition of puppetry
native of Indonesia, especially in
Java & Bali. In Java, wayang
kulit, an elaborate form of shadow puppetry is very popular. Javanese
rod puppets have a long history and are used to tell fables from
Javanese history. Another popular puppetry form in
Indonesia is Wayang
China has a history of puppetry dating back 3000 years, originally in
"pi-yung xi", the "theatre of the lantern shadows", or, as it is more
commonly known today, Chinese shadow theatre. By the Song Dynasty
(960–1279 AD), puppets played to all social classes including the
courts, yet puppeteers, as in Europe, were considered to be from a
lower social stratum. In Taiwan, budaixi puppet shows, somewhat
similar to the Japanese Bunraku, occur with puppeteers working in the
background or underground. Some very experienced puppeteers can
manipulate their puppets to perform various stunts, for example,
somersaults in the air.
Japan has many forms of puppetry, including the bunraku. Bunraku
developed out of Shinto temple rites and gradually became a highly
sophisticated form of puppetry. Chikamatsu Monzaemon, considered by
many to be Japan's greatest playwright, gave up writing Kabuki plays
and focused exclusively on the puppet-only
Bunraku plays. Initially
consisting of one puppeteer, by 1730 three puppeteers were used to
operate each puppet in full view of the audience. The puppeteers,
who dressed all in black, would become invisible when standing against
a black background, while the torches illuminated only the carved,
painted and costumed wooden puppets.
Chinese shadow puppet (Beijing style)
Chinese stick puppets
Hanuman and Ravana in Togalu Gombeyaata, shadow puppet tradition in
southern part of India
Bunraku Puppet, Tonda
Puppet Troupe, Japan
The character Osono from the play Hade Sugata Onna Maiginu[a]
Burmese puppet theatre with musicians in foreground. 19th century
In Korea, the tradition of puppetry is thought to have come from
China. The oldest historical evidence of puppetry in
Korea comes from
a letter written in 982 A.D. from Choe Seung-roe to the King. In
Korean, the word for puppet is "Kkoktugakshi". "Gagsi" means a
"bride" or a "young woman", which was the most common form the dolls
took. A kkoktugakshi puppet play has eight scenes.
Thailand has Hun Krabok, a rod puppet theatre which is the most
popular form of puppetry.
Vietnam developed the art form of water puppetry, that is unique to
that country. The puppets are built out of wood and the shows are
performed in a waist high pool. A large rod under the water is used by
the puppeteers to support and control the puppets. The appearance is
created of the puppets moving over water. The origin of this form of
puppetry dates back seven hundred years when the rice fields would
flood and the villagers would entertain each other, eventually
resulting in puppet show competitions between villages. This led to
puppet societies becoming secretive and exclusive.
Puppetry in India
India has a long tradition of puppetry. In the ancient Indian epic
Mahabharata there are references to puppets. The Rajasthani Puppet
India is notable and there are many Indian ventriloquists and
puppeteers. The first Indian ventriloquist, Professor Y.K. Padhye,
introduced this form of puppetry to
India in the 1920s and his son,
Ramdas Padhye, subsequently popularised ventriloquism and puppetry.
Almost all types of puppets are found in India.
Sakhi Kandhei (String puppets of Odisha)
India has a rich and ancient tradition of string puppets or
marionettes. Marionettes having jointed limbs controlled by strings
allow far greater flexibility and are, therefore, the most articulate
of the puppets. Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are some
of the regions where this form of puppetry has flourished. The
traditional marionettes of
Rajasthan are known as Kathputli. Carved
from a single piece of wood, these puppets are like large dolls that
are colourfully dressed. The string puppets of Orissa are known as
Kundhei. The string puppets of Karnataka are called Gombeyatta.
Puppets from Tamil Nadu, known as Bommalattam combine the techniques
of both rod and string puppets.
India has a variety of types and styles of shadow puppets. Shadow
puppets are flat figures cut out of leather, which has been treated to
make it translucent. Shadow puppets are pressed against the screen
with a strong source of light behind it. The manipulation between the
light and the screen make silhouettes or colourful shadows, as the
case may be, for the viewers who sit in front of the screen. This
tradition of shadow puppets survives in Orissa. Kerala, Andhra
Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Tolpava Koothu) is a tradition of shadow puppetry that is unique to
Kerala, India. The shadow theatre of Karnataka is known as Togalu
Gombeyatta. These puppets are mostly small in size. The puppets
however differ in size according to their social status, for instance,
large size for kings and religious characters and smaller size for
common people or servants.
Rod puppets are an extension of glove-puppets, but often much larger
and supported and manipulated by rods from below. This form of
puppetry now is found mostly in West Bengal and Orissa. The
traditional rod puppet form of West Bengal is known as Putul Nautch.
They are carved from wood and follow the various artistic styles of a
particular region. The traditional rod puppet of Bihar is known as
Glove puppets, are also known as sleeve, hand or palm puppets. The
head is made of either papier mache, cloth or wood, with two hands
emerging from just below the neck. The rest of the figure consists of
a long flowing skirt. These puppets are like limp dolls, but in the
hands of an able puppeteer, are capable of producing a wide range of
movements. The manipulation technique is simple the movements are
controlled by the human hand the first finger inserted in the head and
the middle finger and the thumb are the two arms of the puppet. With
the help of these three fingers, the glove puppet comes alive.
The tradition of glove puppets in
India is popular in Uttar Pradesh,
Orissa, West Bengal and Kerala. In Uttar Pradesh, glove puppet plays
usually present social themes, whereas in Orissa such plays are based
on stories of Radha and Krishna. In Orissa, the puppeteer plays on the
dholakwith one hand and manipulates the puppet with the other. The
delivery of the dialogues, the movement of the puppet and the beat of
the dholak are well synchronised and create a dramatic atmosphere. In
Kerala, the traditional glove puppet play is called Pavakoothu.
Traditional Indonesian puppets and puppeteer
Wayang puppet from Bali, Indonesia
Afghanistan has produced a form of puppetry known as buz-baz. During a
performance a puppeteer will simultaneously operate a marionette of a
markhor while playing a dambura.
Karagoz, Turkish shadow puppetry
Middle Eastern puppetry, like its other theatre forms, is influenced
by the Islamic culture. Karagoz, the Turkish Shadow Theatre, has
widely influenced puppetry in the region and it is thought to have
passed from China by way of India. Later, it was taken by the Mongols
from the Chinese and passed to the Turkish peoples of Central Asia.
The art of Shadow Theater was brought to
Anatolia by the Turkish
people emigrating from Central Asia. Other scholars claim that shadow
theater came to
Anatolia in the 16th century from Egypt. The advocates
of this view claim that shadow theatre found its way into the Ottoman
palaces when Yavuz Sultan Selim conquered
Egypt in 1517. He saw shadow
theatre performed during a party in his honour and he was said to be
so impressed with it that he took the puppeteer back to his palace in
Istanbul where his 21-year -old son, later Sultan Suleyman the
Magnificent, developed an interest in the plays.
In other areas, the style of shadow puppetry known as khayal al-zill,
a metaphor translated as "shadows of the imagination" or "shadow of
fancy", still survives. This is a shadow play with live music, "the
accompaniment of drums, tambourines and flutes...also..."special
effects" – smoke, fire, thunder, rattles, squeaks, thumps, and
whatever else might elicit a laugh or a shudder from his audience"
In Iran, puppets are known to have existed much earlier than 1000 AD,
but initially only glove and string puppets were popular . Other
genres of puppetry emerged during the Qajar era (18th and 19th
centuries) as influences from Turkey spread to the region. Kheimeh
Shab-Bazi is a traditional Persian puppet show which is performed in a
small chamber by a musical performer and a storyteller called a
morshed or naghal. These shows often take place alongside storytelling
in traditional tea and coffee-houses (Ghahve-Khane). The dialogue
takes place between the morshed and the puppets. A recent example
of puppetry in
Iran is the touring opera Rostam and Sohrab.
Ancient Greece and Rome
Ancient Greek terracotta puppet dolls, 5th/4th century BC, National
Archaeological Museum, Athens
Although there are few remaining examples of puppets from ancient
Greece, historical literature and archaeological findings shows the
existence of puppetry. The Greek word translated as "puppet" is
"νευρόσπαστος" (nevrospastos), which literally means
"drawn by strings, string-pulling", from "νεῦρον" (nevron),
meaning either "sinew, tendon, muscle, string", or "wire", and
"σπάω" (spaō), meaning "draw, pull".
to pulling strings to control heads, hands and eyes, shoulders and
legs. Plato's work also contains references to puppetry. The Iliad
Odyssey were presented using puppetry. The roots of European
puppetry probably extend back to the Greek plays with puppets played
to the "common people" in the 5th century BC. By the 3rd century BC
these plays would appear in the
Dionysus at the
In ancient Greece and ancient Rome clay dolls, and a few of ivory,
dated from around 500 BC, were found in children's tombs. These dolls
had articulated arms and legs, and in some cases an iron rod extending
up from the tops of their heads. This rod was used to manipulate the
doll from above, as it is done today in Sicilian puppetry. A few of
these dolls had strings in place of rods. Some researchers believe
these ancient figures were simply toys and not puppets, due to their
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Italy is considered by many to be the early home of the marionette due
to the influence of Roman puppetry.
Plutarch refer to
them. The Christian church used marionettes to perform morality
plays. It is believed that the word marionette originates from the
little figures of the Virgin Mary, hence the word "marionette" or
"Mary doll. Comedy was introduced to the plays as time went by,
and ultimately led to a church edict banning puppetry. Puppeteers
responded by setting up stages outside cathedrals and became even more
ribald and slapstick. Out of this grew the Italian comedy called
Commedia dell'arte. Puppets were used at times in this form of theatre
and sometimes Shakespeare's plays were performed using marionettes
instead of actors.
In Sicily, the sides of donkey carts are decorated with intricate,
painted scenes from the Frankish romantic poems, such as The Song of
Roland. These same tales are enacted in traditional puppet theatres
featuring hand-made marionettes of wood. In Sicilian this is called
Opera dei pupi", or "
Opera of the puppets". The "
Opera dei pupi" and
the Sicilian tradition of cantastorie, the word for storyteller, are
rooted in the Provençal troubadour tradition, in
Sicily during the
reign of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the first half of the
18th and 19th centuries
The 18th century was a vital period in the development of all Italian
theatre, including the marionette theatre. The rod puppet was mainly
of lower-class origin, but the marionette theatre was popular in
aristocratic circles, as a celebration of the Age of Enlightenment.
The effects, and the artful and complex construction of the puppets,
the puppet theatres, and the puppet narratives, were all popular,
particularly in Venice. In the 19th century, the marionettes of
Pietro Radillo became more complex and instead of just the rod and two
strings, Radillo's marionettes were controlled by as many as eight
strings, which increased control over the individual body parts of the
Guignol is the main character in the French puppet show which has come
to bear his name. Although often thought of as children's
entertainment, Guignol's sharp wit and linguistic verve have always
been appreciated by adults as well, as shown by the motto of a
Lyon troupe: "
Guignol amuses children… and witty adults".
Laurent Mourguet, Guignol's creator, fell on hard times during the
French Revolution, and in 1797 started to practice dentistry, which in
those days was simply the pulling of teeth. To attract patients, he
started setting up a puppet show in front of his dentist's chair.
Guignol de Lyon
His first shows featured Polichinelle, a character borrowed from the
Italian commedia dell'arte. By 1804 the success was such that he gave
up dentistry altogether and became a professional puppeteer, creating
his own scenarios drawing on the concerns of his working-class
audience and improvising references to the news of the day. He
developed characters closer to the daily lives of his
first Gnafron, a wine-loving cobbler, and in 1808 Guignol. Other
characters, including Guignol's wife Madelon and the gendarme
Flagéolet soon followed, but these are never much more than foils for
the two heroes. Guignol's inevitable victory is always the triumph of
good over evil.
Puppet theatre (
Punch and Judy
Punch and Judy style), c. 1770
The traditional British
Punch and Judy
Punch and Judy puppetry traces its roots to
the 16th century to the Italian commedia dell'arte. The character
of "Punch" derives from the character Pulcinella, which was Anglicized
to Punchinello. He is a manifestation of the
Lord of Misrule
Lord of Misrule and
Trickster, figures of deep-rooted mythologies. Punch's wife was
originally "Joan", but later became "Judy". In the late 18th and early
19th centuries, the familiar
Punch and Judy
Punch and Judy puppet show which existed
in Britain was performed in an easily transportable booth. The British
Puppet and Model
Theatre Guild in the early 20th century instigated a
resurgence of puppetry. Two of the Guild's founders, H. W. Whanslaw
and Waldo Lanchester, both worked to promote and develop puppetry with
publications of books and literature, mainly focusing on the art of
the marionette. Lanchester had a touring theatre and a permanent venue
in Malvern, Worcestershire, regularly taking part in the Malvern
Festival and attracting the attention of George Bernard Shaw. One of
Shaw's last plays, Shakes versus Shav, was written for and first
performed in 1949 by the company.
Gerry Anderson produced many television series
starring marionettes, starting with Roberta Leigh's The Adventures of
Twizzle and ending with The Secret Service. Many of these series (the
most famous of which was Thunderbirds) employed a technique called
Supermarionation, which automatically synchronized the pre-recorded
character dialogue to the puppets' mouth movements. Anderson returned
to puppetry in 1983 with
Terrahawks and the unaired pilot Space Police
Current British puppetry theatres include the Little Angel
Theatre Barge in London, Norwich Puppet
Theatre, the Harlequin
Puppet Theatre, Rhos-on-Sea, Wales, and the
Puppet Theatre, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland. British puppetry
now covers a wide range of styles and approaches. Don Austen, a
British puppeteer, worked with Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and also
worked on a number of feature films. There are also a number of
British theatre companies, including Horse and Bamboo Theatre, and
Green Ginger, which integrate puppetry into highly visual productions.
From 1984 to 1996, puppetry was used as a vehicle for political satire
in the British television series Spitting Image.
Puppetry has also
been influencing mainstream theatre, and several recent productions
combine puppetry with live action, including Warhorse, at the Royal
Theatre and Madam Butterfly at the English National
Netherlands, Denmark, Romania, and Russia
Many regional variants of
Pulcinella were developed as the character
spread across Europe. In the Netherlands it is Jan Klaassen (and Judy
is Katrijn); in Denmark Mester Jackel; in Russia Petrushka; and in
Romania Vasilache. In Russia, the Central
Theatre in Moscow and
its branches in every part of the country enhanced the reputation of
the puppeteer and puppetry in general.
Polichinelle caricature, France
Puppet theater with Gioppino and Brighella, Bergamo Italy
Traditional puppets from Liège, Belgium
Germany and Austria
There is a long tradition of puppetry in Germany and Austria. Much of
it derives from the 16th century tradition of the Italian commedia
dell'arte. The German version of the British character of 'Punch'
Kasperle of Kaspar while Judy is called Grete. In the
18th century, operas were specifically composed for marionette
puppets. Gluck, Haydn, de Falla and Respighi all composed adult
operas for marionettes.
Count Franz Pocci
Count Franz Pocci founded the Munich
Marionette Theatre. A
German dramatist, poet, painter and composer, Pocci wrote 40 puppet
plays for his theatre.
Albrecht Roser has made a considerable impact
with his marionettes in Stuttgart. His characters
Clown Gustaf and
Grandmother are well-known. Grandmother, while outwardly charming,
is savagely humorous in her observations about all aspects of society
and the absurdities of life. In Lindau, the
was founded in 2000 by Bernard Leismueller and Ralf Hechelmann. The
company performs a large number of operas as well as a marionette
ballet, Swan Lake. In Augsburg, the historic Augsburg Marionette
Theatre was founded in 1943 by Walter Oehmichen.
It continues to this day along with an adjoining puppet museum under
the grandsons of the founder, Klaus Marschall and Juergen Marschall.
Much earlier in nearby Salzburg, Austria, the
Theatre was founded in 1913 by Professor
Anton Aicher and is
Theatre still continues the
tradition of presenting full-length opera using marionettes in their
own purpose built theatre until recently under the direction of Gretl
Aicher. It performs mainly operas such as
Die Fledermaus and The Magic
Flute and a small number of ballets such as The Nutcracker. The
Theatre productions are aimed for adults although
children are of course welcome. There is also a marionette theatre at
Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Marionette Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
Puppet Theatre, Ostrava, Czech Republic
Marionette puppet theatre has had a very long history in entertainment
in Prague, and elsewhere in the Czech Republic. It can be traced deep
into the early part of the Middle Ages. Marionettes first appeared
around the time of the Thirty Years' War. The first noted Czech
puppeteer was Jan Jiri Brat, who was born in 1724. He was the son of a
local carpenter and created his own puppet theatre. Matej Kopecky
was the most famous 19th-century Czech puppeteer, and was
responsible for communicating the ideas of national awareness.
In 1920 and 1926 respectively,
Josef Skupa created his most famous
puppet characters: comical father
Spejbl and his rascal son
Hurvínek. In 1930, he set up the first modern professional puppet
theatre. An important puppet organisation is the
Theatre in Prague. Its repertoire mainly features
a marionette production of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. The production
has period costumes and 18th-century setting. There are numerous other
companies, including Buchty a Loutky ("Cakes and Puppets"), founded by
Marek Bečka. Puppets have been used extensively in animated films
Jiří Trnka was an acknowledged leader in this
Miroslav Trejtnar is a master puppeteer and teacher of
traditional Czech marionette-making skills.
Throughout this period, puppetry developed separately from the
emerging mainstream of actor theatres, and the 'ragged' puppeteers
performed outside of theatre buildings at fairs, markets etc. -
continuing to be classified along with bandits and gypsies. In the
19th century, puppetry faced competition from other forms of theatre
such as vaudeville and music hall, but it adapted to these challenges,
for example: by developing stage acts and participating in the new
forms of popular theatre, or reinventing itself in other ways and
finding audiences at the newly fashionable seaside resorts.
Teotihuacan culture (Central Mexico) of 600 AD made figurines with
moveable arms and legs as part of their funerary rites. Native
Americans also used ceremonial puppets. In 1519, two puppeteers
Hernando Cortez on his first journey to Mexico. Europeans
brought their own puppet traditions with them, but gradually
distinctive styles, forms and puppet characters developed in North
During the Depression, folk puppeteers traveled with carnivals,
working with their own scripts and with dioramas and marionettes of
their own manufacture.
Some advances in 20th-century puppetry have originated in the United
Marionette puppetry was combined with television as early as
the 1940s, with
Howdy Doody of the
United States being a notable
marionette in this field.
Bil Baird worked on revitalising marionette
theatre and puppetry in the United States. He and his wife, Cora
Eisenberg had their own marionette theatre in New York. Ventriloquist,
Edgar Bergen also made a major contribution. In the 1960s Peter
Schumann's Bread and
Puppet Theater developed the political and
artistic possibilities of puppet theatre in a distinctive, powerful
and immediately recognizable way. At roughly the same time, Jim Henson
was creating a type of soft, foam-rubber and cloth puppet which became
known collectively as Muppets. Initially, through the children's
television show Sesame Street, and later in
The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show and on
film, these inspired many imitators and are today are recognised
Wayland Flowers also made a major contribution to
adult puppetry with his satirical puppet, Madame.
Sid and Marty Krofft
Sid and Marty Krofft are two of Americas most well known puppeteers
and were mainly known for their live action children's TV series in
the 60s and 70s namely
HR Puffinstuff and Lidsville
Puppets also have been used in the
Star Wars films, notably with the
character of Yoda. His voice and manipulation was provided by Frank
Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy
Puppets in the Bread and
Puppet Theater Museum in Glover, Vermont, USA
Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop
Leslie Madeline Fleming and Bleeckie, a character from a series of web
The Aboriginal peoples of Australia have a long tradition of oral
storytelling which goes back many thousands of years. They used masks
and other objects to convey deep and meaningful themes about morality
Masks were carved from wood and heavily decorated with
paint and feathers.
In Australia in the 1960s,
Peter Scriven founded the Marionette
Theatre of Australia and had beautiful marionette productions such as
The Tintookies, Little Fella Bindi,
The Explorers and The Water
Puppet Theatre, established by
Barbara Turnbull and her
husband Bill Turnbull (puppeteer) toured Australia extensively under
the auspices of the Queensland Arts Council in the 1970s and 1980s.
Their puppets are now held at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre,
Brisbane. David Poulton toured marionette shows via the Queensland
Arts Council along his 'Strings and Things' with his wife Sally for
many years from the late 1970s.
David Hamilton, one of the last remaining marionette puppeteers in
Australia, tours independently and formerly toured under the auspices
of the Queensland Arts Council. Comedian and radio broadcaster Jamie
Dunn was famous for his Muppet-style character,
Agro (puppet) who
featured on several
Seven Network television programs throughout the
1980s and 1990s. Formally trained in the
United States by puppeteers
Jim Henson Company, Brett Hansen and his
Larrikin Puppets company is one of only a few Muppet-style puppeteers
actively performing in Australia. Cabaret
Puppet Theatre, based in
Brisbane's Redlands area, also tours with productions for children and
Theatre 1977-2002 evolved from
humble collective beginnings to evolve a design-rich large theatre
format dubbed 'Visual Theatre' and became a hot-house for innovative
projects and award-winning multimedia collaborations within Australia
and around the world.
Snuff Puppets Skullies from Scarey
A post-graduate course existed at the Victorian College of the Arts,
University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne in the late 1990s. Australian puppeteer Norman
Hetherington was famous for his marionette,
Mr. Squiggle who featured
on an Australian Broadcasting Commission television program for many
years from 1 July 1959. The last episode was on 9 July 1999. In every
episode he would create several pictures from "squiggles" sent in by
children from around the country.
Richard Bradshaw OAM is another
famous Australian puppeteer. He is a past President of UNIMA
Australia, former artistic director of the
of Australia and does shadow puppetry and writing in the field.
Rod Hull also made a contribution with his puppet Emu. In the 1960s,
Hull presented a children's breakfast television programme in
Snuff Puppets is one of Australia's modern puppet theatre
troupes. Based in Melbourne, their work is full of wild black humour,
political and sexual satire and a hand made visually aesthetic. Snuff
Puppets has performed in over 15 countries, including tours to major
festivals in Asia, South America and Europe. There is an annual winter
festival of puppets at the City of Melbourne's ArtPlay and at
Federation Square in Melbourne.
Puppet theatre in Moscow, Russia in 1958
Performance of the
From early in the 19th century, puppetry began to inspire artists from
the 'high-art' traditions. In 1810,
Heinrich von Kleist
Heinrich von Kleist wrote an essay
Marionette Theatre', admiring the "lack of self-consciousness"
of the puppet.
Puppetry developed throughout the 20th century in a
variety of ways. Supported by the parallel development of cinema,
television and other filmed media it now reaches a larger audience
than ever. Another development, starting at the beginning of the
century, was the belief that puppet theatre, despite its popular and
folk roots, could speak to adult audiences with an adult, and
experimental voice, and reinvigorate the high art tradition of actors'
Puppets, a 2002 photo of a lithograph from xerographic direct imaging
of two 20th century hand puppets
Sergei Obraztsov explored the concept of kukolnost ('puppetness'),
despite Joseph Stalin's insistence on realism. Other pioneers,
Edward Gordon Craig
Edward Gordon Craig and
Erwin Piscator were influenced by
puppetry in their crusade to regalvanise the mainstream. Maeterlinck,
Shaw, Lorca and others wrote puppet plays, and artists such as
Picasso, Jarry, and Léger began to work in theatre. Craig's
concept of the "übermarionette"—in which the director treats the
actors like objects—has been highly influential on contemporary
"object theatre" and "physical theatre". Tadeusz
Kantor frequently substituted actors for puppets, or combined the two,
and conducted each performance from the edge of the stage, in some
ways similar to a puppeteer.
Kantor influenced a new formalist generation of directors such as
Richard Foreman and Robert Wilson who were concerned with the 'object'
in theatrical terms "putting it on stage and finding different ways of
looking at it" (Foreman). Innovatory puppeteers such as Tony Sarg,
Waldo Lanchester, John Wright, Bil Baird, Joan Baixas, Sergei
Obratsov, Philipe Genty, Peter Schumann, Dattatreya Aralikatte, Jim
Henson, Dadi Pudumjee, and
Julie Taymor have also continued to develop
the forms and content of puppetry, so that the phrase 'puppet theatre'
is no longer limited to traditional forms of marionettes, glove, or
rod puppets. Directors and companies like
Peter Schumann of Bread and
Puppet Theatre, Bob Frith of Horse and Bamboo Theatre, and Sandy
Speiler of In the Heart of the Beast
Theatre have also
combined mask and puppet theatre where the performer, puppets and
objects are integrated within a largely visual theatre world that
minimises the use of spoken language.
Jim Henson Foundation, founded by puppeteer and
Muppet creator Jim
Henson, is a philanthropic, charitable organization created to promote
and develop puppetry in the United States. It has bestowed 440 grants
to innovative puppet theatre
artists.[better source needed]
Puppetry troupes in
the early 21st-century such as HomeGrown
Theatre in Boise, Idaho
continue the avant garde satirical tradition for millennials.
UNIMA – International
Russian puppet theater
^ in a performance by the Tonda
Puppet Troupe of Nagahama, Shiga,
Japan - an example of Japanese
^ a b c d e f g h i j Blumenthal, Eileen,
Puppetry and Puppets, Thames
& Hudson, 2005. ISBN 978-0-500-51226-5
^ a b Strings, Hands, Shadows: A Modern
Puppet History, John Bell,
Detroit Institute of Art, 2000, ISBN 0-89558-156-6
^ a b Dugan, E.A., Emotions in Motion.
^ Herodotus, The Histories, 2.48, on Perseus
^ Xenophon, Symposium, 4.55, on Perseus
^ Logan, David, Puppetry, p.7
^ a b Ghosh, Massey, and Banerjee, page 14
^ Ghosh, Massey, and Banerjee, pp.14-15
^ Ghosh, Massey, and Banerjee, pages 15-16
^ Bell, page 46
^ a b c Sang-su, Choe. "A Study of the Korean
^ "Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT)".
ccrtindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
^ Mutlu, Hayali Mustafa, Tradition Folk The Site
^ Feeney, John, Saudi Aramco World (article), 1999.
^ Floor, Willem, The History of Theater in Iran,
ISBN 0-934211-29-9: Mage 2005
^ Mehr News Agency, www.mehrnews.com, 7 July 2007.
Iran Daily www.iran-daily.com, 1 March 2006.
^ νευρόσπαστος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A
Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
^ νεῦρον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English
Lexicon, on Perseus
^ σπάω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English
Lexicon, on Perseus
^ List of Ancient Greek words related to puppetry, Henry George
Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
^ Mulholland, John, Practical Puppetry, p.9
^ Observations - Chapter One
^ a b Binyon, Helen,
Puppetry Today, p.11
^ Beaton, Mabel & Les, Marionettes: A Hobby for Everyone.
^ Suib, Leonard Broadman, Muriel, Marionettes Onstage!, p.ix
^ Signorelli, Collezione Maria, www.collezionemariasignorelli.it.
^ a b c Binyon, Helen,
Puppetry Today, p.36
^ Practical Puppetry/John Mullholland, p.10
^ Practical Puppetry/John Mulholland, p.9
^ The Complete Book of Puppets by David Currell, p. 14
^ The Complete Book of
Theatre by David Currell, p.12
^ a b c d e f g h Czech
Theatre by Alice Dubska, Jan Novak,
Nina Malikova and Marie Zdenkova, p.6
^ Practical Puppetry/John Mulholland, p.19
^ Puppets in Prague, www.puppetsinprague.eu
^ Funni, Arthur, The Radio Years of Bergen and McCarthy (Thesis)
Marionette puppet, 'Tintookies Little Fella Bindi',
Aboriginal figure, papier mache / wood / cotton / felt / feathers /
metal, designed by Colin Garland for the
Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1958-1977 - Powerhouse
^ 'Stutter leads to lifetime with puppets', Sunshine Coast Daily, 10
^ The Complete Book of
Theatre by David Currell, p.50
^ Strings, Hands, Shadows: A Modern
Puppet History/John Bell/Chapter
6/Detroit Institute of Art/2000 ISBN 0-89558-156-6
^ Experimental Theatre, from Stanislavsky to Peter Brook/James
Roose-Evans, 1970 Studio Vista ISBN 0-415-00963-4
Jim Henson Foundation
^ Berry, Harrison (2017-12-12). "Horrific
Puppet Affair Finds Humor in
the Space Between Halloween and Christmas". Boise Weekly. Retrieved
^ Burton, Brooke (2017-12-20). "Puppetry, Pantomime, &
Projections: HomeGrown Theatre's Shortcut to Spectacle". Boise City
Department of Arts & History. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
Books and articles
Baird, Bil (1966). The Art of the Puppet. Plays.
Beaton, Mabel; Les Beaton (1948). Marionettes: A Hobby for Everyone.
Bell, John (2000). Shadows: A Modern
Puppet History. Detroit, USA:
Detroit Institute of Art. ISBN 0-89558-156-6.
Binyon, Helen (1966).
Puppetry Today. London: Studio Vista
Choe, Sang-su (1961). A Study of the Korean
Puppet Play. The Korean
Books Publishing Company Ltd.
Currell, David (1992). An Introduction to Puppets and Puppetmaking.
London: New Burlington Books, Quintet Publishing Limited.
Dubska, Alice; Jan Novak; Nina Malikova; Marie Zdenkova (2006). Czech
Puppet Theatre. Prague:
Dugan, E.A. (1990). Emotions in Motion. Montreal, Canada: Galerie
Amrad. ISBN 0-9693081-5-9.
Feeney, John (1999). Puppet. Saudi Aramco World.
Funni, Arthur (2000). The Radio Years of Bergen and McCarthy (Thesis).
The Margaret Herrick Library.
Hayali, Mustafa Mutlu. Tradition Folk The Site. Ankara, Turkey:
Theatre Department, Ankara University Faculty of Language, History and
Latshaw, George (2000). The Complete Book of Puppetry. London: Dover
Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-40952-8.
Lindsay, Hilarie (1976). The First
Puppet Book. Leichhardt, NSW,
Australia: Ansay Pty Ltd. ISBN 0909245061.
Logan, David (2007). Puppetry. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Brisbane
Dramatic Arts Co. ISBN 978-0-9804563-0-1.
Robinson, Stuart; Patricia Robertson (1967). Exploring Puppetry.
London: Mills & Boon Limited.
Sinclair, Anita (1995). The
Puppetry Handbook. Richmond, Victoria,
Australia: Richard Lee Publishing. ISBN 0-646-39063-5.
Suib, Leonard; Muriel Broadman (1975). Marionettes Onstage!. New York:
Harper & Row, Publishers. ISBN 0-06-014166-2.
Vella, Maeve; Helen Rickards (1989).
Theatre of the Impossible: puppet
theatre in Australia. Roseville, N.S.W: Craftsman's House.
Wayland Flowers Dies:
Ventriloquist Was 48". The New York Times.
October 12, 1988. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Puppetry.
The Center for
Puppetry Arts -
Puppetry Museum and Theater in Atlanta,
Puppetry Homepage - Contains links and information about all types
of puppets and puppetry.
Union Internationale de la Marionnette - International organization of
puppeteers and puppet enthusiasts
Puppet Notebook- Articles on puppet history, theory and contemporary
international puppetry in magazine published by British UNIMA.
Prague - Traditional Czech marionette making workshops
conducted by Mirek Tretjnar, master puppeteer
Puppet and Model
Theatre Guild -
Puppet collection and
information and regular articles on puppets and puppetry publishing
hard copy and online journal