The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance offers a wide-ranging

perspective on how scholars and artists are currently re-evaluating the theoretical, historical,

and theatrical significance of performance that embraces the agency of inanimate objects.

This book proposes a collaborative, responsive model for broader artistic engagement in and

with the material world. Its 28 chapters aim to advance the study of the puppet not only as a

theatrical object but also as a vibrant artistic and scholarly discipline.

This Companion looks at puppetry and material performance from six perspectives: theoretical

approaches to the puppet, perspectives from practitioners, revisiting history, negotiating tradition,

material performances in contemporary theatre, and hybrid forms. Its wide range of topics, which

span 15 countries over five continents, encompasses:

• visual dramaturgy

• theatrical juxtapositions of robots and humans

• contemporary transformations of Indonesian wayang kulit

• Japanese ritual body substitutes

• recent European productions featuring toys, clay, and food.

The book features newly commissioned essays by leading scholars such as Matthew Isaac

Cohen, Kathy Foley, Jane Marie Law, Eleanor Margolies, Cody Poulton, and Jane Taylor.

It also celebrates the vital link between puppetry as a discipline and as a creative practice

with chapters by active practitioners, including Handspring Puppet Company’s Basil Jones,

Redmoon’s Jim Lasko, and Bread and Puppet’s Peter Schumann. Fully illustrated with more

than 60 images, this volume comprises the most expansive English-language collection of

international puppetry scholarship to date.

Part I: Theory and Practice

Edited and Introduced by John Bell

Section I: Theoretical Approaches to the Puppet

  1. "The Death of ‘The Puppet’?" by Margaret Williams

  2. "Co-presence and Ontological Ambiguity of the Puppet" by Paul Piris
 "Playing with the Eternal Uncanny: The Persistent Life of Lifeless Objects" by John Bell
  4. Section II: Perspectives from Practitioners

  5. "Visual Dramaturgy: Some Thoughts for Puppet Theater Makers" by Eric Bass

  6. "Puppetry, Authorship, and the Ur-Narrative" by Basil Jones

  7. "Petrushka’s Voice" by Alexander Gref and Elena Slonimskaya
  8. "Clouds are Made of White!" by Rike Reiniger
  9. "Movement is Consciousness" by Kate Brehm

  10. "The Eye of Light: The Tension of Image and Object in Shadow Theatre and Beyond" by Stephen Kaplin

  11. "The Third Thing" by Jim Lasko
  12. "Post-Decivilization Efforts in The Nonsense Suburb of Art" by Peter Schumann
  13. Part II: New Dialogues with History and Tradition

    Edited and Introduced by Claudia Orenstein

    Section III: Revisiting History

  14. "Making A Troublemaker: Charlotte Charke’s Proto-Feminist Punch" by Amber West
  15. "Life-Death and Disobedient Obedience: Russian Modernist Redefinitions of the Puppet" by Dassia N. Posner
  16. "The Saracen of Opera dei Pupi: A Study of Race, Representation and Identity" by Lisa Morse

  17. "Puppet Think: The Implication of Japanese Ritual Puppetry for Thinking Through Puppetry Performances" by Jane Marie Law
  18. "Relating to the Cross: A Puppet Perspective on the Holy Week Ceremonies of the Regularis Concordia" by Debra Hilborn
  19. Section IV: Negotiating Tradition

  20. "Traditional and Post-traditional Wayang Kulit in Java Today" by Matthew Isaac Cohen
  21. "Korean Puppetry and Heritage: Hyundai Puppet Theatre and Creative Group NONI Translating Tradition" by Kathy Foley
  22. "Forging New Paths for Kerala's Tolpavakoothu, Leather Shadow Puppetry Tradition" by Claudia Orenstein
  23. "Integration of Puppetry Tradition into Contemporary Theatre: The Reinvigoration of the Vertep Puppet Nativity Play after Communism in Eastern Europe" by Ida Hledíková
  24. Part III: Contemporary Investigations and Hybridizations

    Edited and Introduced by Dassia N. Posner

    Section V: Material Performances in Contemporary Theatre

  25. "From Props to Prosopoeia: Making After Cardenio" by Jane Taylor
  26. "‘A Total Spectacle but a Divided One:’ Redefining Character in Handspring Puppet Company’s Or You Could Kiss Me" by Dawn Tracey Brandes
  27. "Reading a Puppet Show: Understanding the Three-Dimensional Narrative" by Robert Smythe
  28. "Notes on New Model Theatres" by Mark Sussman
  29. Section VI: New Directions and Hybrid Forms

  30. "From Puppet to Robot: Technology and the Human in Japanese Theatre" by Cody Poulton
  31. "Unholy Alliances and Harmonious Hybrids: New Fusions in Puppetry and Animation" by Colette
  32. "Programming Play: Puppets, Robots, and Engineering" by Elizabeth Ann Jochum and Todd Murphey
  33. "Return to the Mound: Animating Infinite Potential in Clay, Food, and Compost" by Eleanor Margolies