Polish poet, satirist and promoter of puppet theatre. Jan Izydor Sztaudynger studied Polish and German literature at the Jagielloński University of Cracow and earned his doctorate in Philosophy, after which he taught in high schools. In 1935-1937, he travelled to Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Germany and Austria to study the puppet theatre in those countries, research which resulted in a pioneering book on European theatre that became a classic in Poland, Marionetki (Marionettes, 1938).
In Poznań in the 1930s, Sztaudynger organized the first Polish puppet association, the Wielkopolska Rodzina Marionetkarzy (Community of Puppeteers of the Region Great Poland), he wrote plays, was a consultant and literary director of Poznań’s puppet theatres, and organized the first puppet festival in Poland (1938). He also collaborated with the Blekitny Pajac (Blue Clown) theatre, founded and served as editor of Poland’s first puppetry journal, Bal u lal, and was in general a strong advocate of puppetry. During the war he conducted clandestine courses. In 1944-1950, he was a government official, mostly in Łódź, lending his authority and literary reputation in support of the popularization of the art of puppetry. In 1950-1953, he became editor-in-chief of the puppetry periodical, Teatr Lalek. When the magazine was shut down, he concentrated on literary work, remaining an expert and close observer of Poland’s puppetry circles. He was one of the initiators of Poland’s union with the international puppetry organization, UNIMA, and in 1960 was made a Member of Honour of UNIMA.
Jan Izydor Sztaudynger’s organizing activities coincided with the earliest period of the development of the professional structures of Poland’s puppetry during the 1930s and right after the war.
- Rogacka, Joanna. “Jan Sztaudynger i lalki” [Jan Sztaudynger and Puppets]. Teatr Lalek. No. 1. Łódź: POLUNIMA, 1980.
- Sztaudynger, Jan Izydor. Marionetki [Marionettes]. Lwów-Warszawa: Książnica Atlas, 1938.[S]