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Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles

Michael Pietsch

puppet builder and puppeteer #Frankenstein

Bettina Müller

Michael Pietsch is a German actor, puppet builder and puppeteer. He started making string puppets from five years of age and has been stretching the limits of traditional puppetry ever since. Together with the director Jan-Christoph Gockel, he has been merging the art of puppetry with traditional theater, creating a new art form. What is special about their shows is that there is not one specific person who is assigned to the role of the puppeteer. Instead, all actors and actresses bring the wooden creatures to life. In the tradition of Brecht, this process is displayed and the actors and actresses who operate the puppets are always visible to the audience.

Construction puppets

The main material Michael Pietsch works with is wood, but he also enjoys experimenting with foam plastic, silicone, synthetic resin, plastic, taxidermy and bones.

What is Special About Puppets
Puppets are made of dead material. Nevertheless, we strongly connect and feel with them. Because the emotions of a puppet such as crying cannot be seen, we use our own experiences and feelings to fill in the gaps. Another key element of puppetry is authenticity: the puppet is not playing the part; it is the part. It does not pretend to be Frankenstein’s monster. It just is.

'I had worked hard for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.' Mary Shelley


Michael Pietsch graduated from the Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University in Leipzig in 2008 where he had
his stage debut as an actor at Schauspiel Leipzig.

From the age of five, Pietsch has been fascinated with string puppets. So far he has created more than 250 puppets, which he operates and interacts with on stage.
Having been nominated as the up-and-coming actor of the year by Theater heute in 2010, Michael Pietsch’s work – both as an actor and a puppeteer – has included theatre and opera productions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 2014 he has been a member of the ensemble of the Staatstheater Mainz.
Together with the director Jan-Christoph Gockel, who he has been working closely with for the past few years, he founded the theater company peaches&rooster in 2017. >


Expo Panoptikum - 14.02 > 17.03.18

© Gloria Scorier