Traditional Slovak puppeteer. Anton Anderle came from a family of itinerant puppeteers who started performing in 1919. His grandparents, Eva and Michal Václav, collaborated closely with the leading family of Slovak puppeteers the Stražans (see Stražan (family)). Two of their four children, Bohuslav (1913-1976) and Jaroslav (1918-1982) became puppeteers, and they performed their first show in 1929.  

Anton’s elders travelled in a caravan. They used overhead rod marionettes and a stage of the traditional length, known as “baroque”. Following the tradition of itinerant puppeteers in Europe, the head of the family did all of the voices himself. Bohuslav Anderle had more talent in this area than his younger brother, who was better at sculpting figures. Their repertoire was comprised of traditional works, including Faust (Doctor Faust), Don Šajn (Don Juan), Jenovéfa z Brabantu (Geneviève de Brabant), Alceska (Alceste), and Gróf Belengardo (Count Belengardo). Like other Slovak puppeteers, they also used a comic character, Gašparko, and a peasant type, Škrhola.

In the 1950s, the Czechoslovak Department of Circuses, Variety Shows and Fêtes withdrew the Anderle family’s license. The activity of traditional puppeteers was sacrificed to the ideals of the new communist policy. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Anton was able to unofficially revive the family tradition with a few performances done for free. He finally resumed his professional status thanks to the “Velvet” democratic revolution of 1989. From that point on, he later continued to perform the traditional repertoire mentioned above, minus Jenovéfa (Genevieve) because of all the female voices, and adding, among others, Turecký ostrov (The Turkish Island, also called Gašparkova cesta do Ameriky or Gašparko’s Voyage to America) and Cirkus (The Circus), a show using trick puppets. He continued to use the old overhead rod marionettes and manipulated and voiced all the characters, accompanied only by an accordionist. In later years, his figures played on a new stage by Slovak set designer Jana Pogorielová-Dušová.

His most popular character was Gašparko, the only string puppet he used. It was a copy of an old model from a famous Czech traditional workshop in Mirotice.

Popular beyond the borders of Slovakia into Central and Northern Europe (Austria, Germany and the Netherlands), Anton Anderle also became known in France and Italy. He received the Golden Puppet award at the Mittelfest competition, International Festival of Cividale del Friuli in Italy.

(See Slovakia, Itinerant Troupes, Travelling Puppeteers.)


  • Hledíková, Ida. “Európske vplyvy na poetiku tradiãného bábkového divadla Antona Anderleho” [European Influences on the Aesthetics of the Traditional Marionette Theatre of Anton Anderle]. Slovenské divadlo [Slovak Theatre]. No. 4-42, 1994. Bratislava: Slovenská akadémia vied, 1994.
  • Hledíková, Ida. “Marionettes in Slovakia”. Slovak Theatre. Bratislava: Narodné divadelné centrum, 1992.