Internationales Schattentheater Zentrum

Handover of the ISZ direction
from Rainer Reusch to Christian Kaiser

Rainer Reusch, founder and
longtime director of the ISZ.

The publication of research results in books and magazines

Players from all over the world meet at the International Shadow Theatre Festival in Germany

Taking part in a workshop

Part of the ISZ archives

Shadow puppet for the planned museum
(J.P. Lescot, Frankreich)

The International Shadow theatre Centre (ISZ)

The ISZ was founded in 1988 and works on behalf of UNIMA (The International Association of Puppeteers). The ISZ is the only body in the world whose objective is to do research into the art of contemporary shadow theatre, to encourage it and make it better known to the public. The ISZ sees itself as the central point of all activities in this field. Rainer Reusch (retired teacher, shadow player and author of several books on this subject) is the founder of the ISZ and has been its honorary director for 25 years. The headquarters of the ISZ are in Schwaebisch Gmuend and the town provides financial support for the centre.
Rainer Reusch handed over the direction of the ISZ due to reasons of age, on 06.10.2013 to his successor Christian Kaiser. Mr Kaiser is a professional sand artist and president of the society "Sandtogether".

Christian Kaiser: - Artist Profile
- Sandtogether



The Fields of Activity:
  • Communication and Cooperation
    The centre maintains contact with more than 300 shadow and puppet theatres. On a daily basis enquiries are answered, presentations are arranged and new contacts made.
    Links to international shadow theatre companies
  • Research and Documentation
    The ISZ collects information about shadow theatre at an international level, evaluates this and publishes the results in a series of books and magazines. The three volumes in the series “Shadow Theatre” are seen as benchmarks in this field.
    Link: Literature
  • Festival
    In cooperation with UNIMA and the town of Schwaebisch Gmuend the 1st International Shadow Theatre Festival took place in 1988. It is the oldest and only continuously running festival of contemporary shadow theatre world wide. Here artists in the field of shadow theatre can meet, study each other’s expertise, get to know each other, discuss methods and become friends. Significant impulses for new shadow theatre orientation often emanate from here. The 8th festival will take place from October 9 – 15 2015 and once again thousands of guests are expected from all over the world. Schwaebisch Gmuend has become “the Mecca of contemporary shadow theatre.”
    More about the International Shadow Theatre Festival in Schwaebisch Gmuend (Germany)
  • Basic and advanced training
    The ISZ pays particular attention to this area. On the fringe of the festival workshops are offered which are very well received.
    Since 2008 – in close cooperation with Norbert Götz, a professional shadow player from Bamberg (Germany) – the ISZ has offered three types of training:
    - a three-day workshop at the festival
    - a five-day basic course
    - a two-week master class
    More information about training courses with Norbert Götz in Bamberg.
  • Archives
    In the ISZ archives there are photographs, slides, programmes, posters, media criticism, puppets, reference books and films of shadow theatre productions. For reasons of time these archives are only accessible in exceptional cases.
  • Museum
    In the course of the last 20 years the centre has been presented with several hundred puppets by eminent shadow theatre companies. The town of Schwaebisch Gmuend is now planning to build a museum in which the world of shadows and contemporary shadow theatre will be presented. This museum will be interactive: this means that the visitors will be able to make their own experimental experiences with the world of shadow.