Odesa Regional Puppet Theater – is one of the oldest puppet theaters in Ukraine. It was founded in 1932. The theater began its work at the Odessa Theater of the Young Viewer. It was headed by the student of Sergei Obraztsov and Honored Art Worker of Ukraine Jozef Gimmelfarb. He worked as the main director of this theater for 40 years. Under his guidance, the Odessa Puppet Theater has achieved significant success as a professional theater troupe. As a dramatist, he left behind dozens of plays, which today are included in the repertory of many theaters not only in Ukraine but also all around the world. Until the summer of 1941, the theater carried out 10 productions: “By the Pike”, “Aladdin’s Magic Lamp”, “The Tale of the Golden Fish” and others
Since 1944, the theater becomes a permanent theater and received its building.But the main activity of the theater remained cultural education, attracting to the theater art the children’s audience of cities and villages of the Odesa region. Numerous touring performances for the most distant areas of the former Soviet Union have become an integral part of the theater life of the troupe.
1970-90s – the adolescence of the creative life of the theater. Odessa Puppet theater enters the all-Union and international stages. Twice, in 1988 and 1990, he received a large bronze medal of the International Festival “Golden Dolphin” (Varna, Bulgaria). He has become the laureate and winner of festivals in the Netherlands, Japan, Romania, Finland. From 1995 to 2002 – participant and laureate of international festivals in Moldova. The work of the theater and the troupe was awarded by the Eduard Bagritsky Prize, by numerous awards, and most importantly – by the love of many generations of children.
For more than 40 years, the theater was located in a building on Pastera Street, 60. However, in 1988, the building was given to the religious community, and the Puppet Theater was temporarily relocated to Pastera, 15. That place was completely not suitable for hosting viewers or staging performances. For almost 25 years, the Puppet Theater worked in a room where there was no wardrobe, make-up rooms, rooms for workshops and administration, and there was no foyer. It was cold in the theater, the roof was leaking, and concrete was falling everywhere. Despite the difficulties, the theater workers, the management and the troupe did everything in their power to maintain and even develop a unique form of theatrical art.
In 2009, with the efforts of the theater director I.M. Merkovich, the reconstruction began, with a complete internal restoration. During the reconstruction period, the theater performed for thousands of children on tours. Every Saturday and Sunday it worked on a temporary stationary stage in the building of the Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater. New performances were staged quarterly for both children and adults.
The overhaul was completed in the fall of 2012. And on December 21, 2012, Odessa Puppet theater celebrated its 80th anniversary on a new stage, in a beautiful building that delights both children and adults.
Currently, the theater’s repertory includes 20 performances. These are different in styles and genres and based on the works of Ukrainian and foreign authors.