Anna Brashinskaya


For more than thirty years I have been involved in all possible activities around puppetry: I have been writing, teaching, directing, giving workshops for professionals, kids and amateurs, participating in art-therapy seminars, managing international festivals as a producer, and running devising laboratory processes. I have been working in Russia, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, Estonia, UK, and France. Experienced and young puppeteers surround me all the time. Their thoughts are deep; there motivation is amazing; there ideas worth spreading. I feel like I have to find my way to keep this unique material and to share it with wider circle of people, not necessarily professional theatre makers. It is time to focus; it is time to formulate; it is time to write.

Puppet theatre directing is a very popular occupation nowadays. Not only puppeteers are dealing with animated objects – puppets crossed the borders of all art forms and can be seen in modern dance, cirque nouveau, musical, and even classical text-based theatre productions. Is there any specific knowledge and skills one has to possess before inviting a puppet to act on stage? Shortly, is there any specific in directing non-human actor?

There are no books or even decent articles written about the phenomenon of puppetry directing. Staging shows with puppets is obviously underrated, unexamined, undeformulated profession. It is a miracle. Nevertheless, there are rules and secrets one has to consider – is it possible to enunciate them?

For ten years I have been interviewing Alexey Lelyavsky – Belorussian Master of Puppetry. My hero is an artistic director of The Minsk State Puppet Theatre. He has been teaching puppetry in many European schools and directing puppet shows all over the world. He knows all the secrets of the profession. Puppetry is full of mysteries, but my interlocutor is a sort of Mr. anti -David Copperfield. He is positive that while creating miracles for the audience you must “dig up the solid ground”.

The Saari Residence provides me with desired privacy and needed isolation. It is “my island”, where I am planning to devote myself to a very pleasant process of searching for correct and precise words to explain tricky specifics of my profession. Here is time and space to be left alone and there is also chance to meet people to share your ideas with. I think that possibility to share your thoughts with stranger colleagues help you to understand your dear ideas much better – you always think of finding new words and new ways.