German puppeteer, director, and screenwriter, disciple of Max Jacob. In 1922, Friedrich Arndt devoted himself to puppetry while at the same time pursuing business training. Starting in the late 1920s, he organized the cultural and youth programmes of a trade union, which allowed him to maintain his passion for puppetry arts. From 1943 to 1945, he taught puppetry to soldiers as part of a special programme in support of the troops, which is where he met Max Jacob in 1944. After the war, he joined Jacob’s company, the Hohnsteiner Puppenbühne, as a professional puppeteer. In 1949, Arndt founded his own Hohnsteiner theatre company, playing mostly pieces in Low German dialect. His theatre company existed with changing ensembles until 1970. Thereafter, he concentrated on teaching, television, and stage direction.
Throughout his career, Friedrich Arndt carefully developed the Hohnstein style of Max Jacob. At the same time he also created puppet shows for preschoolers. Music held an increasingly important role in his works, especially in the musical pantomimes Der klingende Teppich (The Ringing Carpet) and Die Schildbürger (The Gothams, i.e. Dim-witted, foolish citizens). The well-known stock of Hohnstein puppets was expanded by the introduction of glove puppets carved by Till de Kock (b.1915).
Friedrich Arndt offered his talents as a puppeteer in the service of television in 1964, writing many scripts and participating in many children’s programmes. The audio versions of his plays also experienced great success in Germany in the form of records and tapes.
Friedrich Arndt is the author of two books: Das Handpuppenspiel (The Hand Glove Puppet Play, 1956) and Aus meinem Puppenspielerleben (From My Life as a Puppeteer, 1986).
- Arndt, Friedrich. Aus meinem Puppenspielerleben [From My Life as a Puppeteer]. Hamburg, 1986.
- Arndt, Friedrich. Das Handpuppenspiel [The Hand Puppet Play]. Bärenreiter Verlag Kassel, 1956; rpt. Johannes Stauda Verlag Kassel, 1980.