Austrian puppeteer, playwright, musician and magician, affectionately known as “Clown Habakuk” in Austria. Arminio Rothstein studied Decorative Arts from 1948 to 1953 and, in 1957, established his own “String Puppet Theatre in the Artist’s Home” (“Fadenbühne im Künstlerhaus”). His productions of plays by Bertolt Brecht (Die Dreigroschenoper The Threepenny Opera), by Giovannino Guareschi (Don Camillo und Peppone Don Camillo and Peppone), and by Nikolai Gogol (Der Revisor The Government Inspector), were remarkable as they put the puppet and the actor-puppeteer both on stage. He also created a String Puppet Cabaret (“Marionetten-Cabaret”) for Austrian television in 1960. The texts for the episodes were written by Georg Kreisler, Hugo Wiener and Carl Merz and several well-known actors gave their voices to the puppets.

In 1967, Arminio Rothstein and Gordana Krobath-Rothstein established the Arlequin-Theater at the Café Mozart near the Opera. At the same time, Arminio Rothstein worked on programmes for the young, broadcast by the ORF (Austrian Public Television). In 1971, he created the programme entitled Habakuk’s Kasperltheater, that was later renamed Clown Habakuks Handpuppenzirkus (Habakuk the Clown, Glove Puppet). At the end of the show, Habakuk the Clown would take Kasperl on his knees and perform a short ventriloquist sketch for the audience.

Rothstein, in collaboration with his fourth wife, Christine, designed and made more than a thousand string, rod and glove puppets. Among the best known are Mimi the Goose, Tintifax the Magician, Kasperl, Toby, Tobias and the parrot, Jakob.

At the death of Arminio Rothstein in 1994, his wife, Christine, continued to run the theatre.

(See Austria.)