BirthMetz, France (1931)
DeathPlappeville, near Metz, France (2000)
French puppeteer and stage director. Raymond Poirson trained as an actor at the École du Vieux-Colombier in Paris from 1948 to 1951, having learned woodcarving in Metz. He established the puppet theatre of Metz in 1954. He produced many shows for children – including the remarkable Maléfice de la Phalène (The Curse of the Butterfly) by Federico García Lorca in 1962, and Don Quichotte (Don Quixote) in 1964, repeated in 1973 with giant puppets – then devoting himself to an adult audience after 1977 with Oratorio pour une vie (Oratorio for a Life) by Gabriel Cousin. This show, performed with rod and foam rubber puppets, was presented internationally, and for 120 performances in a theatre in Metz, an unequalled record. Poirson then presented Un vol d’oies sauvages (A Flight of Wild Geese, 1985) written by himself and his son, Jean, and Passion (1987) by Yves Heurté.
From 1980 to 1991, his company occupied a permanent space, one of the rare theatres reserved for puppetry in France. He left the theatre for health reasons and returned to sculpture – always insisting that puppets were “living sculptures”. Although his productions for adults have been describeded as mystical, Raymond Poirson was an unbeliever who defended his conception of faith, replacing faith in a god with faith in humanity, as could be perceived in the “messages” of his productions, which also affirmed the primacy of the image over the text.