German puppeteer. Son of a shoemaker in Hanau, Johann Georg Geisselbrecht was one of the most important puppeteers of his time. His dry humour, which he showcased when playing the figure of Kasper, and the literary character of his repertoire after 1800 distinguished him from his colleagues. His repertoire, partly recorded and handed down as manuscripts, contains many pieces of itinerant comedians of the 17th century and popular Viennese theatre of the 18th century.

From 1790 to 1826, Geisselbrecht travelled throughout Germany, the Baltic countries, Switzerland and Denmark. He played at the courts of Baden, Prussia, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Denmark. Poets and politicians such as Goethe, Brentano and Wilhelm von Humboldt attended his shows. The Weimar poet and man of letters, Johann Daniel Falk (1768-1826) and the Leipzig publicist, Siegfried August Mahlmann (1771-1826), composed many satirical pieces for him. These plays examined contemporary literature with a critical eye. In Berlin, where Geisselbrecht lived from 1811 to 1813, his repertory included current political and social themes. New authors such as Julius von Voss (1768-1832), Carl Stein, and military adviser Gerlach were added for this purpose.

After 1826, it becomes impossible to find a trace of Geisselbrecht. It seems that the theatre ceased to exist. The claim by Theodor Storm in his novella Pole Poppenspäler (Paul the Puppeteer) that Johann Georg Geisselbrecht is the father-in-law of the “Mechanikus und Puppenspieler” Joseph Tendler is entirely fictional.

(See Germany.)