Cypriot puppeteer. Amaranth Sitas, born Amaranth Adler in 1925 in Hamburg, Germany, immigrated to Cyprus in 1934. She was already putting on puppet shows for her children when her mother gave her a box of puppet heads sculpted by Max Jacob (Hohnsteiner Kasper Theatre). Along with nursery school teacher Lito Papachristoforou, in 1965 Amaranth Sitas persuaded the Mayor of Limassol to build a small puppet theatre in the city park. Under her direction, an ensemble of actors and teachers was created. The theatre was named Kourkoulianós Theatre, from the Greek Cypriot language for “sandman”. The troupe presented open-air shows during the temperate seasons, running until 1968.

In 1971, Amaranth Sitas left for Johannesburg, South Africa, and in 1973, formed there a new puppet troupe. Along with Alida von Maltitz, she also founded the South African division of UNIMA, with Sitas filling the role of Secretary for many years. Meantime, her puppet company performed intermittently, with her husband, Stelios Sitas, acting as manager and stagehand.

Amaranth Sitas returned to Cyprus in 1986 and reunited with her former performers. She once again launched the open-air puppet theatre. In addition to small shows for nursery schools, the group created large works with rod puppets, including The Yellow Lemon (1992), based on a Cypriot tale, Sinbad the Sailor (1993), and Tears of the Dragon (1994). These shows played in the Limassol city theatre. In 1972, the small Limassol park theatre burnt down. By Sitas’ request and with the support of the Limassol Municipality, it was rebuilt, and the Sunday performances recommenced in September 1995. Between 1989 and 1993, at Limassol’s Intercollege, Amaranth Sitas taught body expression, as well as puppet manipulation and puppet comedy, to future nursery school teachers.

Meanwhile, Stelios Sitas transformed his studio into a small puppet theatre, the first of its kind in Cyprus. This was a place for training and also for shows and experimentation during the winter months.

(See Cyprus.)