Dutch puppeteer. At the time Guido van Deth began performing with his glove puppets, this style of puppetry was denigrated as an inferior form. He had to fight strong prejudice in defending his repertoire, his puppets, his technique and his artistic aspirations. In retrospect, Guido van Deth, along with Cia van Boort, was one of the greatest glove puppeteers of his time. In 1946, after having been a member of De Haagse School (the Hague School of puppetry), he succeeded in founding his own permanent and travelling puppet theatre based in The Hague. He was also a co-founder, along with several fellow puppeteers, of another theatre, Het theater van de Verenigde Poppenspelers / Theater der Verenigde Poppenspelers (The Theatre of the United Puppeteers[/lier]. They performed all over the Netherlands, sharing their artistic experiences. Their professional approach stimulated the development of puppetry, but financial reasons ended the project a few years later.

Guido van Deth performed mainly for adults and later also for children. An author, he wrote his own scripts. The glove puppets, for the most part nonrealistic or unconventional in design, were commissioned from visual artists or were made by Guido van Deth and his wife. Felicia Beck became his assistant in 1950, and as a married couple they became a well-known name in puppetry. Their repertoire include 40 works for adults and children, including Suuske en zijn Ezeltje (Suuuske and His Little Donkey), De Verdwenen Prinses (The Lost Princess), Singo en de Sneeuwfant (Singo and the Snowphant), and De Uizers (The Uizers), the latter the last piece that Guido and Felicia van Deth created together. Their works reflect their humanistic ideas and faith in human capacities and friendship. For the couple, puppetry is not an end in itself. It is a means of reflecting on society.

After the death of Guido van Deth, Felicia continued his work. The theatre closed its doors in 2000.

With the founding of his theatre, Poppentheater Guido van Deth, in The Hague (Den Haag) in 1946, Guido van Deth also opened the Museum voor het Poppenspel (Museum of Puppetry). He had gathered puppets from many countries, studied their origins, restoring them when needed. His collection of puppets, prints and posters from around the world grew to thousands of pieces, including Indonesian wayang puppets and a library of over 1,200 specialist titles. After his death, the collection became an official museum in 1971, and later a department of the Theater Instituut Nederland (TIN, Netherlands Theatre Institute) in 1980. The Museum closed in 1996.

(See Netherlands.)


  • Alkema, Hanny, et al. Poppen-, object en beeldend theater in Nederland [Puppet, Object and Visual Theatre in the Netherlands]. Amsterdam: Nederlands Poppenspel Instituut, 1991.