105 Years Salzburg Marionette Theatre
38.325 days devoted to puppetry
The Salzburg Marionette Theatre has existed for 105 years – seven years longer than the Salzburg Festival. A unique private institution, it was developed and directed for three generations by the Aicher family, and has been a defining influence on Austria’s cultural identity since the 1930s, still invited to give guest performances worldwide. Over 40 years ago, the Theatre was installed in its present Schwarzstrasse location, and is now a fitting neighbour to the Landestheater and the Mozarteum University.
Over the course of a century, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre has mounted more than 150 productions. Hundreds of stage-sets and well over a thousand marionettes (they have never been counted) have been produced in the workshops – many of them in several versions, in different sizes and costumes – and up to 70 marionettes for each production. Developments in the stage machinery, which frequently has to be adapted to other venues, require highly complex arrangements to enable the staging of elaborate operatic works.
The Salzburg Marionettes owe their worldwide reputation to their highly perfected art of puppetry and the many tours undertaken over the past 105 years to all parts of the world. In 2016 the theatre has been included in the UNESCO list of Intagible Cultural Heritage.
Puppeteers from all over the world work for the Salzburg Marionette Theatre; they train here, for it takes around ten years to attain mastery. It is comparable to playing a musical instrument. Most of the puppeteers, however, also make marionettes, paint scenery or sew costumes.
“They are travellers, painters, tailors, town guides, draughtsmen, seducers, and above all, puppeteers. And they are received with enthusiasm by international audiences in Salzburg and the world over” (Ilse Fischer).