Welcome to the English pages of the Bad Toelz marionette theater.
These pages are still under construction. We will give you an abbreviated resumé of the text on the German pages and a short introduction to the more than 90 years of history behind the TMT.
Puppetry has tradition in Bad Toelz, the sympathetic spa town south of Munich, close to the Bavarian Alps.
In 1908 , local pharmacist GEORG PACHER founded his own small marionette theater. Conceived at first only to amuse his friends and family, the puppet theater quickly gained a substantial following. So the town decided to give PACHER a room in a small building that housed a restaurant in the park next to the Town Council house. This was the hour of birth for a theater that has just celebrated it´s 90th year of existence!
At the end of the 19th century, puppets and puppetry began to come out of the fair grounds and began to be taken seriously by artists and honorable citizens. Until then, puppeteers were considered travelling people and had a very bad reputation.
In Munich, only a few miles away from Toelz, the legendary PAPA SCHMID founded the Munich marionette theater. A gifted artist and high official at the Court of king Ludwig I, Count FRANZ VON POCCI, became Schmid´s enthusiastic collaborator . The multi-talented man drew stage curtains and designs, and wrote pieces for the hero of Schmid´s shows, “Kasperl Larifari”, a descendant of Hans Wurst and all the classical comic figures in traditional puppetry. This collaboration was so tremendously successful that it spawned the start of other theaters, most notably the SALZBURG MARIONETTES and... of course, the Toelz marionette theater, or TMT, as we call it for short.
Pacher the founding father did not live to see the expansion of his modest puppet theater. He died in 1922. But the virus had caught on and the theater survived his inspirator. And even a natural desaster when the original building threatened to collapse shortly after WW II due to a hidden flow of water that had undermined it´s foundations. No one was hurt and the invaluable material, the puppets and sets could be saved in a dramatic last-minute action. The citizens of Bad Toelz were determined to continue with the tradition, even when the damage done to the original building proved to be impossible to repair and it had to be torn down. They decided to rebuild their theater only a few steps away from the old location, and why not make it larger and much more comfortable? The old place had been romantic, but with the first onslaught of tourism it had become quite cramped...
July 12, 1953 saw the much-applauded opening of the new Toelz marionette theater, the one you can see and visit nowadays.
The second and most fruitful era for the TMT began when a gifted artist, sculptor and stage designer named Oskar PAUL fell in love with the possibilities of the marionette in the Fifties. He saw that with this stage he could realize even his most farfetched projects, those that would be difficult if not impossible to do with humans on a “normal” stage. So he decided to make the Toelz marionette theater his lifetime´s project. In more than 40 years of work he conceived and designed about 30 shows, made the puppets, did the lighting, setup and even acted as voice talent and manipulator on stage. The small, only a few inches tall marionettes of the beginning years have long since retired to the Museum in Bad Toelz, where they are on permanent exhibit. The works of Oskar Paul form the repertory base for the theater today.
When Mr. Paul passed away in 1999, the theater went through a period of turmoil. The city officials saw that the structure of the theater would have to be modernized and adapted to our times if it was to survive. So the decision was made to give the direction of the house to 2 professional puppeteers.
ALBERT MALY-MOTTA and KARL-HEINZ BILLE have taken up the reins on May 1st, 2000. They will try to continue the great tradition of this theater, keep the repertory intact and in good repair and do great new shows for the years to come. Both of them are puppet “nuts” since they were out of their diapers.
Maly-Motta has cut his teeth on Tamino and Belmonte, Ottavio and E.T.A. Hoffmann in the world famous SALZBURG MARIONETTE THEATER, while BILLE is a ninth-generation puppeteer. The Bille family has been in travelling puppetry since the middle ages. Bille himself worked for 13 years at the Munich Marionette theater, where he and Maly-Motta met in 1978. When the opportunity to take over this jewel of a theater presented itself, they both leapt at the chance.
If this web site has inspired you to come and see us here in Bad Toelz, please let us know! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by e-mail (see “Kontakt”) or give us a ring. If you are a colleague, by all means do so, too. We are in touch with many friends and colleagues around the globe and would like to hear from you!