Directing for puppet theatre
Degree programs with the express aim of training directors of puppet theatre are scarce in the world. The first group of students to receive this degree here graduated over 50 years ago in 1966.
The aim of this program is to preserve the traditions of using most kinds of stage puppets (mechanical, miming and shadow) within the context of contemporary art. These include marionettes, Petrushka (glove) puppets, vertical rod puppets, horizontal rod puppets, rod and stick puppets, stick puppets, vertep, table top puppets, body puppets and more.
In addition, students learn to use, animate and otherwise manipulate various objects and materials from nature, everyday life and technology. Productions can be made combining various puppet and animation techniques with live action acting.
Russia has a strong tradition of puppet theatre aimed both toward children and adults. Coursework involves adapting fairytales, folk tales, myths and even dramatic plays (by authors as diverse as Shakespeare, Moliere and Chekhov) and prose works of any level of complexity.
Future directors also undergo training as actors, participating in their classmates’ scenes and performing in productions at the Student Theatre – this is of conceptual importance, as directors should feel what their actors will feel in their productions in order to know how to give them precise and executable tasks.
Training for directors of puppet theatre is carried out from start to finish within a constant group for 10 semesters, going from simple exercises, scenes, numbers and excerpts to a short, pre-thesis production and a final thesis production in a professional puppet theatre.
Graduating directors receive a Specialist Degree.