BirthRiga, Latvia (1932)
DeathBochum, Germany (1992)
German puppeteer and academic (doctorate in German Studies). Together with Kathrin Mensching, in 1958 Gerhard Mensching founded the Taschentheater (Pocket Theatre). Inspired by Russian director Sergei Obraztsov, he studied the possibilities offered by performing with hands, hands which he transformed into simple puppets with only a few accessories, such as using gloves as costumes and balls as heads. The effect of these stylized figures was enhanced by an artificial language that Gerhard Mensching developed combining a few German words with many newly made-up, often onomatopoeic ones. The humorous link that this established between puppet theatre and scientific interest in the modes of expression prior to speech was an important aspect of his work.
Mensching wrote numerous children’s books, stage plays, radio plays and novels. He also performed as an actor and director on stage. The television series, Lemmi und die Schmöker (Lemmi and the Old Books/Adventure Stories, 1973), was the result of his tireless efforts to make children and young people familiar with literature. From 1964, Gerhard Mensching taught Literature as a senior lecturer at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (University of Bochum).