Story


In the 20th century the ancient art of puppetry experienced a great metamorphosis which placed it at the centre of the contemporary arts movement. The social and political changes that occured as a consequence of the First World War and the Soviet Revolution, together with technological progress, led to the birth of the avant-garde movement and the reformation of the theatre. In the field of puppetry, traditional and classic forms began to coexist with new artistic and experimental forms associated with contemporaneous modernist and avant-garde ideas. Musicians, poets, choreographers, painters and sculptors developed an interest in puppets and enriched puppetry with their distinct artistic expression, elevating it to an art form. Traditional repertory became diversified and complexed playwrights began to explore new paths. New forms of puppetry had emerged – more complex and bolder than before – as well as innovative puppet construction methods and puppet operation techniques. The sites for puppet performances were no longer just town squares or fairs, but also included large or small stages, auditoriums and other spaces where it was feasible to be able to stage a performance. New means of expression came into being as this medium evolved, e.g. "object theatre" and "mixed-media" theatre where the actor and pupet are on stage at the same time. Puppetry experienced a boom and gained new recognition, leading to the formation of first professional puppet theatres. In the distinct European cultural environments of Slovenia, Italy and Spain, there were individuals without any family tradition in this field who became involved in the art of puppetry and played a key role in the history of their countries: Milan Klemenčič, Vittorio Podrecca, and Hermenegildo Lanz. These three personalities are very representative of this transformation period and the experiments that opened new horizons for the puppet theatre. Of course, they are not the only who were instrumental in the transformation of the puppet theatre in the twentieth century, many others could be mentioned also. However, we are focussing on them today because several European organisations with direct connections to these pioneers, either as direct heirs or legatees, have gathered here to bring their life and work to light. Their paradigmatic work is essential for understanding who we are and where we come from, for finding our place in the present and finding the strength to walk towards the future with our eyes wide open.