‘Puppets for Action' draws critical attention to the mechanics, materials, histories and contexts of puppet productions across such diverse formats as opera, avant-garde/children’s/political/street theatre, shadow-puppets, circuses, Punch & Judy shows, educational, therapeutical and integrational initiatives.

Puppets appear in all cultures. Often classified as puerile trifles, children's entertainment or educational tools, puppets are, in point of fact, enthralling – aesthetically, historically, philosophically and politically. The papers in this forum confront the relative dearth of secondary literature on the subject by engaging with puppetry from interdisciplinary perspectives and demonstrating its high topicality to pressing 21st-century critical and theoretical debates.

This forum is published as part of the Production Archives special collection and takes its origin from a major international conference jointly organised by Salzburg University and the Salzburg Marionette Theatre in 2020. The focus on ‘Puppets for Action’ resonates with the special collection’s agenda: a) to investigate critically neglected formats, stages and contexts of cultural production; b) to analyse the legacies of cultural productions as well as archival practices themselves (see: CORE – THEATRE | OPERA | FESTIVAL); c) to explore new research paradigms for identifying the interfaces between material practice, collaborative, creative and technical labour, and institutional, economic, socio-political and organisational forces.

Two further forums of this special collection are in publication with the Open Library of Humanities: Production Archives 02: Production Contexts, and Production Archives 03: Archival Practices.

Editor-in-chief: Prof. Sabine COELSCH-FOISNER (University of Salzburg).
Editorial board: Prof. Vicky ANGELAKI (Mid-Sweden University), Dr. Paul FAGAN (University of Salzburg), Prof. Roger LUCKHURST (Birkbeck College, University of London).
Image: Salzburg Marionette Theatre

Production Archives 01: Puppets for Action

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Special Collections