German puppet and figure theatre (Figurentheater) group founded in Berlin in 1990. Theater Handgemenge (Scuffle Theatre) has significantly influenced the German figure theatre scene for the past two decades. The group was founded by five students from the Abteilung Puppenspielkunst (Department of Puppetry) of the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch” (Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts) in Berlin. Friederike Krahl, Peter Müller, Pierre Schäfer, Anne Swoboda and Martin Thoms produced for their final exams a production consisting of several scenes subtitled Lavendel – Ein Handgemenge (Lavender – A Scuffle, 1990), under the direction of Prof. Hans-Jochen Menzel.

Since 1994, Peter Müller (Neubrandenburg), Pierre Schäfer (Berlin) and Friederike Krahl (Karlsruhe) form the nucleus of the company. The group exists as a loose association of artists whose work is an integral part of the current German and European theatre scene (in co-productions with the Theater o.N. (Zinnober)). They combine excellent skills in the art of puppetry with a precise and ironic look at the world. Whether it is a look at the world of legendary heroes as in Dietrich von Bern (1994), romantic clichés in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen or the nightmarish reality of everyday life, Theater Handgemenge paints a grotesque and at the same time realistic picture of the world. The theatre produces shows for children and adults by tapping into the full range of performing arts: a composite of techniques, glove puppets and rod puppets, marottes, object theatre (Höchste Eisenbahn, 2002), clowning, street theatre, etc.

(See Germany.)