Handspring Puppet Company

Handspring is one of the world’s leading puppets companies. They were founded in Cape Town South Africa in the early 1980s touring children’s shows around South Africa in a makeshift caravan. In 1985, they made their first puppet show for adults, centred on an episode in the life of two women who befriend a wounded freedom fighter. The play was a great success and led to the start of their performances internationally. In the same year, they moved to Johannesburg and began working with a succession of innovative theatre directors, including William Kentridge, with whom they made 6 productions between 1992 and 2002: “Woyzeck on the Highveld” (1992), “Faustus in Africa” (1995), “Ubu and the Truth Commission” (1997), “Il Riturno d’Ulisse” (1998), “Zeno at 4 am” (2001) and “Confessions of Zeno” (2002). These productions toured widely in Germany to cities including: Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin, Weimar, Hanover, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Kassel and Frankfurt. In 1999, Handspring moved back to Cape Town and began working on the plays “The Chimp Project” (2000), “Tall Horse” (2004) and “War Horse” (2007) which presented animals as animals in leading roles. “War Horse” was produced by The National Theatre of Great Britain and became a major international hit. It was seen by 2.7 million people in London and over 7 million people world wide, touring to the USA, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan and China, where it continues to perform. Handspring also has a not-for-profit arm called Handspring Trust. The Trust introduces puppetry in disadvantaged communities in rural areas in South Africa. They are currently in their 7th year as part of the Barrydale Parade and Performance in a town three and a half hours outside Cape Town. The company is run by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones and has studios in Cape Town.


As of May 2016

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