Romanian puppet theatre established in 1956 in Constanța as part of the city theatre Teatrul de Stat Constanța (Constanța State Theatre) by director Claudiu Cristescu. Called Teatrul de păpuşi Elpis (Elpis Puppet Theatre) in 1990, it was renamed Teatrul pentru copii și tineret Constanța (Constanța Theatre for Children and Youth) in 2003.

Claudiu Cristescu was already well known for his research work and artistic vision. His production, Poveste fără cuvinte (Story Without Words), was well received at the International Puppet Theatre Festival organized by Țăndărică Puppet Theatre (today, Teatrul de animaţie Ţăndărică) in Bucharest in 1958.

Cristescu was the Artistic Director of the Constanța Puppet Theatre from 1956 to 1963. He was followed by Mircea Iordăchescu, a visionary producer, who brought in several theatre directors among whom were Geo Berechet, Andrei Belgrader, Silviu Purcărete, Irina Niculescu, and Cristian Pepino. The company was well known for its outstanding puppeteers: Aneta Forna-Christu, Georgeta Nicolau, Ioana Jora, Mircea and Tina Romanescu, Dromihete Ghilman, Vasile Hariton, and Petru Catrava.

Among the shows produced under Mircea Iordăchescu’s leadership are: Micul prinț (The Little Prince, 1973), directed by Andrei Belgrader; Călina Făt-Frumos (Călina Prince Charming, 1975), directed by Silviu Purcărete; Copilul din stele (The Star-Child, 1975), after Oscar Wilde, directed by Geo Berechet.

Romeo Profit took over as Artistic Director from 1977 to 1986. During this period the theatre presented several productions by Cristian Pepino: Lecție de zbor pentru puiul de cocor (Flight Lesson for the Little Crane, 1980); Metamorfozele (The Metamorphoses, 1981), based on the work of Ovid, which was awarded at the PIF (Pupteatra Internacia Festivalo International Puppet Festival) of Zagreb; Inimă Rece (Cold Heart, 1982), based on a short story by Wilhelm Hauff; Regele Cerb (The King Stag, 1985), after Carlo Gozzi.

Between 1988 and 1993, director Mona Chirilă staged Făt-Frumos din lacrimă (Prince Charming, Born of Tears) by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889); Capra cu trei iezi (The Goat and Her Three Little Kids); and Fetița cu chibrituri (The Little Match Girl), productions that renewed the aesthetics of the theatre.

Several important Romanian stage directors worked with the theatre, among them Ștefan Lenkisch, Irina Niculescu – with O poveste oarecare, in which the music was played by actors using unusual objects, and Povestea porcului (The Pig Story, 1978), Niculescu’s production where she introduced verses from the Old Testament – and Ildikó Kovács, with an experimental production of William Shakespeare’s Furtuna (The Tempest), and several shows for children.

The theatre produced fifteen editions of the festival Săptămana teatrelor de păpuși (The Week of Puppet Theatres), one of the most important puppetry events of the past thirty years.

The current Artistic Director, Vasile Gherghilescu, has succeeded in maintaining the theatre’s autonomy, preventing it from being integrated into the drama theatre.

(See Romania.)