The world in objects

Guido van Deth Puppet Theatre Collection

In 1946, a puppet theatre was opened on the first floor of a private home in Nassau Dillenburgstraat in The Hague. Many beautiful puppet shows were played in this small theatre for more than 50 years. The magic of the show, bringing the puppets to life, fascinated children and adults time after time, for generations.

Moving spirit behind the foundation of the theatre was Guido van Deth, born in Brussels and then living in The Hague. His dream was to raise puppet play far above the common amateurism stuck to it of old. To that end, he wrote, translated and adapted pieces at a great pace. He created the heads and costumes for the puppets himself, or he had artist friends make them.

In 1950, Guido van Deth was assisted by Felicia Beck, who had seen one of Guido’s performances at her secondary school. Immediately after her finals, she joined the theatre and they married in 1955. They created and played many shows, at their home in The Hague, everywhere in the Netherlands and abroad. During their journeys, they collected puppets from various cultures and traditions.

After Guido died in 1969, Felicia van Deth continued the puppet theatre on her own. She adapted existing repertoire for solo plays, but she also created and played many new shows. In 2000, Felicia stopped playing – her hands did not function well any longer – and closed down the theatre. The puppets of Guido van Deth Puppet Theatre have been in the Museon ever since. There, each puppet hangs in its own spot, just like in the theatre, per group and per play together. They are now museum objects, but they may come to life again, when a puppeteer would play a show with them, or when spotlighted in an exhibition.

A small selection of puppets is on display in the One Planet exhibiton. 

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Lia Belle

Puppet ‘Lia Belle’. R. Dumoulin, Belgium, 1950
 

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Policeman

Puppet ‘Policeman’. R. Dumoulin. Belgium, 1950

Location

Netherlands