Originally from Italy, Massimo Schuster is a puppeteer, actor and stage director living in France. At first he was a student actor at the École d’Art Dramatique (School of Dramatic Arts) of the Piccolo Teatro of Milan. Then, in 1969, he discovered and joined the Bread and Puppet Theater directed by Peter Schumann, whom he considers his first master. He worked in the United States with the company, and took part in its many international tours.
In 1975, Massimo Schuster settled in France and founded, with Marion David, the Théâtre de l’Arc-en-Terre whose first productions were highly influenced by the Schumann style. His search for a theatre inspired by European traditions was confirmed with Thésée et le Minotaure (Theseus and the Minotaur, 1983), followed by La Tragique Histoire de Macbeth (The Tragic History of Macbeth, 1984). He collaborated with the painter Enrico Baj (his second master) who created the puppets for Ubu Roi (King Ubu, 1984), a solo show that played for twelve years in twenty-four countries. Schuster’s work is characterized by other collaborations with painters (Enrico Baj, Hervé Di Rosa, Joan Baixas), with sculptors (Richard Di Rosa), writers (Anthony Burgess, Jean-Pierre Carasso, Tzvetan Marangozov, Francesco Niccolini), and musicians (Gino Negri, Lorenzo Ferrero, Richard Harmelle, Bogdan Dowlasz).
Schuster is particularly attached to the classical texts: Le Cid (1986); L’Iliade (The Iliad, 1988); Richard III (1990); Un chapeau de paille d’Italie (An Italian Straw Hat, 1992); Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers, 1996); the Mahabharata (2003).
Massimo Schuster has also taught at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM; Higher National School of Puppetry Arts) in Charleville-Mézières, France, and directed numerous productions in France and abroad. Some of his puppets are displayed in the museums of Decorative Arts in Lausanne and Zurich, at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg and the Erasmus Foundation of The Hague. He has also written and published diverse works, including Ave Marionnettes (Salute the Puppets, 1995), La Boîte a texticules (The Texticule Box, 1997), Strzgwop ou la Condition humaine (Strzgwop or the Human Condition, 1998). He served as President of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) from 2004-2008.