Polish puppet theatre founded in Poznan (Poznań) in 1945 by Halina Lubicz, active under the name of Marcinek from 1957 to the 1980s. The theatre’s name was changed according to its character and artistic evolution: from Teatr Marionetek (Marionette Theatre) through Teatr Aktora i Lalki (Actor and Puppet Theatre), Teatr Młodego Widza (Young Audience Theatre), and, since 1990, to Teatr Animacji (Theatre of Animation). Up to the mid 1950s it was the youth theatre wing of an actors’ theatre in Poznan. It became an independent theatre in 1954. Its artistic position among Polish puppet theatres was consolidated under the direction of Joanna Piekarska (1954-1960) and her close collaborator, the stage designer Irena Pikiel, due to such productions as Bajki i ballady (Tales and Ballads, 1956) by Adam Mickiewicz, Pastorałka (The Nativity, 1957) by Leon Schiller, and Młynek do kawy (The Coffee Mill, 1960) by Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński.
The Marcinek theatre developed its original artistic style under the direction of Leokadia Serafinowicz and Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz (1960-1979). The Marcinek produced a canon of plays from Polish literature: ranging from the Renaissance with Odprawa posłów greckich (The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys, 1979) by Jan Kochanowski; through to 18th century tales from the repertoire of the court theatre, with Julija, czyli Opatrzności Boskiej dzieło (Julia, Or the Handiwork of God’s Providence, 1971) by Teofila and Karolina Radziwiłł; and from Romanticism with the romantic and poetic Wanda (1970) by Cyprian Kamil Norwid, and Wesele (The Wedding, 1969) by Stanisław Wyspiański; and to 20th century works, many of them by avant-garde authors, including Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński, Miron Białoszewski, Tadeusz Różewicz.
Deeply rooted in the Polish tradition with its repertoire and visual concepts, the Marcinek made a mark in the European context as well as by producing the works of Cervantes, Goethe, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Marcinek’s visual language, developed principally by Leokadia Serafinowicz and the painter Jan Berdyszak, featured a “clash” between abstract forms, materials and textures, and the actor, marking a complete departure from realism in the theatre and a turn toward the metaphor, symbolism and expressiveness. The fullest expression of this style was achieved in the production of plays by the theatre’s permanent author, Krystyna Miłobędzka, notably in Siała baba mak (The Old Woman Sowed Poppies, 1969), W kole (In the Circle, 1974), and Ptam (1977).
It was at the Marcinek that the genre of puppet opera designed for children was created: O Kasi co gąski zgubiła (Kasia Who Lost Her Geese, 1967); Lajkonik (1969); Koziołki z wieży ratuszowej (The Goats from the City Hall Tower, 1979). A continuous collaboration with psychologists, teachers and art theorists, and its research into the public’s reception of the productions, prompted the artists of Marcinek to establish the festival Konfrontacje Teatralne (Theatre Confrontations) in 1964, a review of contemporary puppet plays which developed into the Biennale Sztuki dla Dziecka (The Biennale of Art for Children).
Upon the departure of Leokadia Serafinowicz and Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz in 1979, the theatre has been headed, since 1990, by Janusz Ryl-Krystianowski, actor-puppeteer and stage director. He embraces a different aesthetic by accentuating the action of objects in the theatre, the style of acting expression, and a contemporary reading of plays, avoiding illustration in favour of playing with conventions, often favouring a “cabaret”–style aggressiveness in his productions, as can be seen in: Rycerz niezłomny (The Inflexible Knight, 1993) by Maciej Wojtyszko; Ribidi, rabidi, knoll (1994); O diabełku Widełku (The Little Devil, 1999) by Pierre Gripari; Dzikie łabędzie (Wild Swans, 2000) by Kazimiera Jeżewska; O królewnie Wełence (The Princess Wełence, 2004) by Maria Joterka; Baśń o rycerzu bez konia (The Tale of a Knight Without a Horse, 2005) by Marta Guśniowska; W beczce chowany (Mannered in the Barrel, 2007) by Robert Jarosz; Najmniejszy bal świata (The Smallest Ball in the World, 2010) by Malina Prześluga; Proces o cień osła (The Trial of the Donkey’s Shadow, 2011) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
Since 2003, the Teatr Animacji w Poznaniu (Poznan Theatre of Animation) organizes the biennial KON-TEKSTY festival, which promotes contemporary plays for children and youth.
Since 2013, the theatre is directed by Marek Waszkiel.
- Koecher-Hensel, Agnieszka. Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz. Dokumentacja działalności [Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz. Documentation of His Work]. Vol. 16 of “Lalkarze. Materiały do biografii” series. Ed. M. Waszkiel. Łódź, 1997.
- Morawska-Rubczak, Alicja. Teatr animacji Janusza Ryl-Krystianowskiego [Janusz Ryl- Krystianowski’s Animation Theatre]. Poznań: Teatr Animacji w Poznaniu, 2011.[S]
- Sych, Honorata. Leokadia Serafinowicz. Dokumentacja działalności [Leokadia
- Serafinowicz. Documentation of Her Work]. Vol. 12 of “Lalkarze. Materiały do biografii” series. Ed. M. Waszkiel. Łódź, 1996 (with a bibliography).
- Teatr Lalek. No. 1 (Special issue). Łódź: POLUNIMA, 1994.
- Teatr Lalek Leokadii Serafinowicz [Leokadia Serafinowicz’s Puppet Theatre]. Poznań: OOSDIM/Muzeum Narodowe, 1985.[S]
- Teatr Lalki i Aktora w Poznaniu, 1945-1970 [The Puppet and Actor Theatre in Poznań, 1945-1970]. Poznań: TLiA, 1971.[S]