German puppet and figure theatre. The Theater Waidspeicher Erfurt, founded in 1979, was originally a branch of the Städtischen Bühnen Erfurt (Municipal Stages/Theatre of Erfurt). It is located, since 1986, in a building dating from the Middle Ages which was a Waidspeicher (woad storage facility; woad is a plant from which the blue colour for dyeing is extracted). The company is a non-profit association funded equally by the municipality of Erfurt and the state of Thuringia.

The theatre’s repertoire (about ten productions each season) is based on a variety of genres and modes of narration. The programme includes fairy tales as well as literary classics and adaptations of crime/detective novels. They are staged using modes of conventional puppet theatre (string puppets, glove puppets, rod puppets (marottes) and tabletop puppetry) but also techniques of experimental theatre (digital animation, video projection and others). Most of the performances (about two hundred and fifty a year) are intended for children and adolescents, but productions for adult audiences are also an integral part of their repertoire.

During the 1980s, the company was among the most innovative puppet theatre groups of the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). During the following decade, the Theater Waidspeicher Erfurt continued to leave its mark on the evolution of German puppet theatre thanks to its artistic work and the festival Synergura it has organized since 1992.

(See Germany.)