Over the last fifteen years, the Puppentheater in Halle an der Saale has become one of the most distinguished ensembles of its kind in Germany. Its past productions, including the “Portrait of Dorian Gray” and “My Cold Chamber” have received numerous prizes and have been performed on tour by the ensemble in Germany and abroad. In all of their productions, general theatre director Christoph Werner and his team explore the relationship between the character and the actor, and between the puppet and the audience.
In commemoration of its 60th anniversary in 2014, the Puppentheater wished to develop this aesthetic approach further together with six Halle-based cultural institutions and strengthen its local partnerships. In cooperation with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Franckesche Stiftungen, Händel Haus Foundation, Kunstverein Talstrasse, Werkleitz-Gesellschaft and the Theater, Oper und Orchester GmbH, the Puppentheater has organized an interdisciplinary festival based on the motto “Doppelgänger” which addressed the relationships and conflicts between puppets, humans and machines. The festival invited audiences to participate in theatre performances, “academic speed dating” and “science slams”, film programmes, exhibitions, an opening concert and an open-air spectacle.
The Ventriloquist Convention
In this production, ventriloquists from all over the country meet together at a conference. Using film documentation as the basis, the French choreographer and director Gisèle Vienne and the American writer Dennis Cooper have created a performance which addresses the prejudices which puppeteers and ventriloquists often encounter. Are they a little weird? Have they never grown up? Do they perhaps talk to their puppets in private? Gisele Viènne is known in her works to reveal the disturbing constellations between humans and artificial creatures.
Artistic director: Christoph Werner
Curators: Bureau für Begeisterung, Marcel Schwierin (Film)
Partners: Theatres of Halle, Leopoldina German National Academy of the Sciences, Franckesche Stiftungen, Stiftung Händelhaus, Kunstverein Talstraße, Werkleitz-Gesellschaft
Artists / researchers: Gisèle Vienne (FR), Christoph Bochdansky (AT), Salzburger Marionettentheater (AT), Pyromantiker and other international members of Leopoldina and filmmakers
Company/ensemble/orchestra: Lautten Compagney Berlin, Staatskapelle Halle