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17 years in the editorial department of “The Other Theatre” of UNIMA Germany

by | Jun 10, 2021 | Raise the curtain

Founded in Prague in 1929 the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) is the association of all people interested in puppet theatre.  It’s membership has steadily grown resulting in an extremely diverse structure worldwide. Today, UNIMA is organised into approximately 100 national centres (www.unima.org), which exchange professional and cultural-political information between themselves.  Every four years the World UNIMA organisation holds the international UNIMA festival. Simultaneously in a chosen country a congress is held where the policy for the next four years is decided upon.  During this congress they discuss public relations work or aid measures, while thematically organised international commissions report on their work and the individual centres of puppet theatre work in their respective countries. In 2025, the congress is planned to be held in South Korea.

The DaT issues from 2004 -2021

For many years there were two UNIMA centres in Germany, one for the GDR (East Germany) and one for the FRG (West Germany) (www.unima.de). In 1990 both centres were merged to form UNIMA Germany. The then first chairman of the puppeteers Dieter Brunner, fulfilled an old dream, replacing the old association news in the UNIMA newsletter with a new magazine titled: Das andere Theater (DaT)(The Other Theatre). It was initially produced quarterly, and a research assistant was hired who, together with a voluntary editorial team, helped the journal achieve continuity and a high standard. The hectographic sheets gradually grew into a professional journal published twice a year in black and white print.

At a certain point the editors decided to separate the journal financed by UNIMA, from UNIMA and introduce it to the German magazine market as an independent journal. A large majority of the members wanted a completely new profile for the journal. In 2003: topics and articles were to come primarily from the members and reflect the UNIMA scene more clearly. Christiane Klatt, Silke Technau, Stephan Schlafke took over the voluntary editorial work. The graphic designer Martin Labedat was enlisted for the layout.  Thematic issues were conceived according to suggestions and wishes of the members, e.g. from the annual general meeting.   Extensive research and work was done on the topics voluntarily. UNIMA succeeded in motivating a wide variety of authors from the growing number of members to contribute interesting articles from many fields of puppet theatre. In the course of time, East and West German members worked together in the editorial office, exchanging ideas and finding a common language. The authors were and are diverse and interdisciplinary. Theatre practitioners, collectors, puppeteers, therapists, pedagogues and scientists write contributing reports, essays, reviews and thematic issues joining together in guest editorial groups.

The journal has become very diverse due to the grassroots democratic concept; the contributions are particularly characterised by the authentic experiences of their authors

“Country specific issues” were created: What was actually going on in our neighbouring countries? The centres of the British, Spanish, Polish, Dutch and Italian UNIMA provided information, contacts and partners. Timeless thematic issues were produced on paper theatre, shadow theatre, masks, puppet theatre and the Nazi era.  There were also issues regarding puppetry on television, in museums and collections.  Puppet theatre and it’s relationship to pedagogy and therapy was also discussed as was the question of artistic self-image in the issue “Why puppets?” But important festivals and also many other topics formed focal points; in between, however, issues with current articles without fixed topics appeared again and again.From 2012 onwards, DaT was the first German puppet theatre journal to be printed in full colour and thus came even closer to presenting the visual medium of the theatre puppet.

Special publications of UNIMA with the collaboration of the DaT editorial team

The core of the editorial team consists of Stephan Wunsch, Theater Rosenfisch from Aachen, Silke Technau and Stephan Schlafke, KOBALT Figurentheater and Kolk 17 from Lübeck, and graphic designer Martin Labedat. Dr Antonia Napp, KOLK 17 Lübeck, has also been on the editorial team since 2020. Other special publications have been produced over time.

Latest issue “Theatre Scene 2021

For the UNIMA World Congress, occurring every four years, we produce a special illustrated book each time and distributed it at the relevant congress. Every German UNIMA member can be represented in it with a photo. Arranged according to federal states, the illustrated book provides insights into the German scene.  Including museums and collections, training opportunities and trans-national working groups within more than 100 pages. Thus, every four years since 2004, a comprehensive overview of the puppet theatre scene in Germany has been produced. The last illustrated book has just been published for Easter 2021 – the World Congress was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to Corona – and can be distributed digitally and analogically for the big UNIMA Congress at the end of April.

The next issue will be an anniversary issue, as it will be the 100th issue since 1990

The theatre magazine “Das andere Theater” (DaT), published by UNIMA Germany. Editorial board members since 2004:

Christiane Klatt, Silke Technau, Stephan Wunsch, Stephan Schlafke, Rudi Strauch DaT 56 – 68

Christiane Klatt, Silke Technau, Stephan Wunsch, Stephan Schlafke DaT 69 – 70

Christiane Klatt, Silke Technau, Stephan Wunsch, Stephan Schlafke, Dr Vera Viehöver DaT 71 – 75/76

Silke Technau, Stephan Wunsch, Stephan Schlafke, Dr. Vera Viehöver DaT 77 – 96

Silke Technau, Stephan Wunsch, Stephan Schlafke, Dr. Antonia Napp DaT 97

Vorhang auf für noch mehr Figurentheater

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