Russian puppet company. Ognivo (Tinderbox), a municipal puppet theatre, was founded by puppeteers Stanislav Zhelezkin and Natalia Kotlyarova in Mytishchi, Moscow Region, in 1992. The theatre’s first production, Zolushka (Cinderella, 1992), assured its reputation as a new, innovative theatre. What was special about this production was the visual interpretation of Charles Perrault’s fairy-tale characters as ancient perfume bottles filled with liquids of many colours (concept and puppet design by Irina Uvarova). One of the bottles contained perfume essential to the play’s climax. The production was performed at many international festivals, earning awards, in particular, the Grand Prix of the 1999 Ostrava International Puppet Festival.
The theatre company soon became one of the centres of cultural life in Moscow’s suburbs. Its popularity was also in part due to the theatre attracting leading Russian and foreign producers and stage designers, including Valery Volkhovsky, Vitalijus Mazuras, Marta Tzifrinovich, Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz, Elena Lutsenko, Leokadia Serafinowicz, Yuri Fridman. The production of Korol i tri ego docheri (The King and His Three Daughters), directed by Yuri Fridman with stage design by Irina Uvarova, in 1998 won the Russian national theatre award at the Golden Mask festival in the category “Best Puppetry Actor” (for Evgeni Bondarenko). Zavtra nachinaetsya segodnya (Tomorrow Begins Yesterday, 2002), directed by Marta Tzifrinovich, was a Russian entry at the 19th UNIMA Congress World Festival in Rijeka, Croatia (2004).
Ognivo is recognized in Russia as a promoter of theatre for adults based on classical Russian literature. Its most memorable productions include Anton Chekhov’s Vishnevy sad (The Cherry Orchard, 2008), directed by Oleg Zhyugzhda, and Oblomov (2011), directed by Stanislav Zhelezkin, the latter a first attempt to stage a puppet play based on Ivan Goncharov’s novel.
In 2008, Ognivo’s artistic director, Stanislav Zhelezkin, was awarded the title of the People’s Artist of the Russian Federation.