Spanish puppeteer. Herta Frankel began her artistic career as a dancer. She arrived in Spain from Italy in 1942 with the Bussetti company. A year later she joined the variety troupe, Los Vieneses (The Viennese) – a troupe led by Arthur Kaps and Franz Johan with whom she created shows like Luces de Viena (Vienna Lights).

In 1948, she began her career as a puppeteer with Grandes artistas en pequeño tamaño (Great Artists into Small Size) for the magazine Sueños de Viena (Dreams of Vienna) in the Teatro Español in Barcelona. In 1959, she launched a children’s television show programme Día de Fiesta (Festival Day) that aired for twelve years. Among her most memorable puppet characters are Tía Cristina, Pepito, Tonto y Gruñón, Ruki y Muki, Marilín, and Violeta.

In 1961, she inaugurated her theatre in Vigo, Teatro de Marionetas, with puppets made by European masters including Luis Fontanet, Regino Mas, Harro Siegel, Fritz Herber Bross, Georges Lafaye, and Zdenek Podhurski. In 1969, she presented El País de la Fantasía (The Land of Fantasy), a series co-produced by TVE and Hessischer Rundfunk, which received several awards in Milan, Monte Carlo, and Gijón.

In 1972, she presented her first black (light) theatre shows in Barcelona with Juego de Amor (Love Game), Totom Club, John and Marsha and Grandes artistas de ayer y hoy (Great Artists of Yesterday and Today). In 1985, along with Fernando Gómez and Pilar Gálvez, she founded the Compañía de Marionetas Herta Frankel, which is dedicated to the spread and renewal of black (light) theatre by participating in many galas and festivals in Spain and Europe. Several exhibitions were also held in Lleida, Barcelona and Seville.

Since 1996, the company runs, in coproduction with the Parc d’Atraccions Tibidabo (Tibidabo Amusement Park) in Barcelona. There, Herta Frankel’s puppet collection is on permanent exhibition in the theatre museum, Marionetarium, which also houses a documentation centre, a school teaching puppet manipulation, and a restoration, conservation and creation workshop.

Herta Frankel was awarded the Gold Medal of Valladolid, and the Ondas Award as well as the FAD/Sebastià Gasch Honour Award that rewards performances and works of “para-theatrical art”.

(See Spain.)