Swiss travelling company. Established in Winterthur in 1970 by Hanspeter Bleisch (b.1945 in Zurich), he was joined by Ursula Bleisch-Imhof (b.1942 in Berne) in 1976. Both puppeteers are self-taught and their productions, rich in experimentation, include all the different kinds of puppets: string puppets and glove puppets, rod marionettes, masks and theatre of objects (see also Object Theatre).
The Puppentheater Bleisch often organizes teaching projects for schools and, on the other hand, produces shows for adults and large-scale productions that bring together puppets and amateur actors. Their repertoire includes puppet shows based on traditional stories, adaptations of plays written for the drama theatre and also original creations of a mythical nature and lyrical works. Since its inception, the Bleisch has created some forty productions and given some three thousand performances in German-speaking Switzerland, in Germany and in Austria.
The company has several productions for children, amongst which the most important are: Cello und Stups: Geschichte einer Freundschaft (Cello and Stups: Story of a Friendship, 1999); Mirko, das Borstenkind: ein rumänisches Märchen zwischen Himmel und Erde (Mirko, Porcupine Child: A Romanian Tale Between Sky and Earth, 1997); Subu und die Mondblume: eine afrikanische Geschichte (Subu and the Moon Flower: An African Story, 2001); Der kleine Muck: ein orientalisches Märchen (Little Muck: An Oriental Tale, 2003).
The best known productions for adults include: Jedermann: vom Leben und Sterben (Every Man: Of Life and Death, 1986); La Belle et la Bête: eine tierisch menschliche Geschichte (Beauty and the Beast: A Beastly Human History, 1989); Vom Fischer un syner Fru (The Fisherman and His Wife, 1996), with music by Urs Fischer; Doktor Johannes Faust (2001), with music by Marcel Vonesch.
Annemarie Duttweiler, Katharina Kronberg, Michael Bosshard and Ernst Jenni are among the many actors who have worked with the Bleisch; and the musicians who performed regularly include Hansjörg Ganz, Christoph Peter, Max Zäch and Jean Charles Reber. The company has participated in several puppet festivals and, in 1992, it went on tour with the Cirque Monti (Monti Circus).
The Bleisch couple often organize puppet workshops and teach at various educational institutions. The Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur gave them an exhibition in 1996 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the company.
In 2000, Ursula and Hanspeter Bleisch curated an exhibition with a focus on theatre of animation at the Lindengut Museum in Winterthur and then took the exhibition to the Neuhaus Museum in Bienne.
- Bleisch, Ursula, and Hanspeter Bleisch. Puppentheater seit 1970 [Puppet Theatre Since 1970]. Henggart: Selbstverlag, 1996.
- Kotte, Andreas, Simone Gojan, Joël Aguet, and Pierre Lepori, eds. Theaterlexikon der Schweiz/Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse/Dizionario teatrale svizzero/Lexicon da teater svizzer. Berne: Chronos, 2005. (In German, French, Italian, Romansh)