German company. Puppentheater Hall was founded in Halle (Saxony-Anhalt) in 1954 by an amateur theatre group during the time of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, Deutsche Demokratische Republik). In 1995, members of the Theater Waidspeicher Erfurt, including artistic director Christoph Werner, joined the Puppentheater Halle and helped to publicize the company on the international scene. Located on the Kulturinsel (Cultural Island) in the centre of Halle, it is now attached to the playhouse Neues Theater (New Theatre) and under the same roof as several other venues.

Among the architects of its success are the puppeteers Prof. Lars Frank, Nils Dreschke, Ines Heinrich and Frauke Jacobi, the director Christoph Werner and the puppet designer and art director Atif Hussein.

The company focuses on the playfulness of improvisation. It abandoned the linear evolution of the character for the benefit of overlapping levels of repeated narration. Neither puppet nor actor trumps over one another.

One of the characteristics of the company’s work is to combine theatre actors and puppetry. The adaptations of children’s books for ages 4-12, such as Die Werkstatt Der Schmetterlinge (The Butterfly Workshop, 2000) by Gioconda Belli with music by Guiseppe Verdi, and the adult programmes contribute to the success of the theatre. It co-produces shows with other theatres and opera houses: this was the case with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest in 2002, produced with the Kölner Stadttheater (City Theatre of Cologne). The Puppentheater Halle also organizes a biennial international festival called PUCK.

(See Germany.)