The Festival of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre


October 24–27, 2024

Since 1913, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre with its unique performance technique has developed into an international benchmark in the art of puppetry. Now the theatre is taking its 111th anniversary as an opportunity to bring puppet theatre in all its facets to its home town: Every two years, the PUPPETS! Festival in Salzburg will present the most diverse forms of puppetry, performed by outstanding ensembles from all over the world.

In 2024, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre is dedicating the first edition of the festival to its own discipline: the string marionette. Compared to other forms of puppetry, the construction and performance of the marionette requires a great deal of effort and experience, as there is no direct contact between the puppeteer and the character via the strings. Fewer and fewer theatres are taking up this challenge, and yet the fascination of puppetry for its audience has remained unbroken for centuries. From 24 to 27 October 2024, you can experience how diverse marionette theatre can be in our time at various venues in the old town on the right (Marionettentheater, Theater im KunstQuartier, Kammerspiele, Toihaus Theater).

The focus of the festival is a major anniversary production of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre: William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The world's most famous love story celebrates its premiere on 24 October in a production by Thomas Reichert. The Puppentheater des Theaters Altenburg Gera is presenting Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann, a true Salzburg classic – in this version, all the roles are played by a single puppeteer, subtly accompanied by a live cello. The production Das 2te Ich by the figuren theater tübingen is inspired by a manuscript by Walter Benjamin and uses surreal images to tell the story of a man struggling with his own desires and missed opportunities on New Year's Eve. In Identitats, presented by the Catalan Rocamora Teatre, the audience follows a surprisingly changeable ‘metaphysical’ marionette that takes on different masks on stage and with them different identities. From Italy comes the duo Di Filippo Marionette, whose poetic and humorous pieces Hanging By A Thread and Variations reach people of all ages completely without words. The final highlight of the festival is Le Dernier Jour de Pierre: this richly detailed production by the French company DERAÏDENZ tells the story of a man on a journey, repeatedly interrupted by supernatural and dark episodes.

In addition to the performances, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre organises a wide-ranging programme to accompany the festival. After the performances, artist talks offer the audience the opportunity to get in touch with the artists. In the foyer of the theatre, the creation of the production Romeo and Juliet is documented in a small exhibition; in the academy bar, a photo exhibition traces the 111-year history of the theatre; a book table from the Rupertus Buchhandlung provides literature on the subject of puppet theatre.

Tickets go on sale on 1 July.