Boris Konstantinov

Director, Principal Director of the State Academic Central Puppet Theatre named after Sergei Obraztsov (since 2013), winner of the Russian National Theatre Award THE GOLDEN MASK (The Leningrader, 2009; Carmen, 2014), one of the founders of Karlsson Haus theatre company.

Director, Principal Director of the State Academic Central Puppet Theatre named after Sergei Obraztsov (since 2013), winner of the Russian National Theatre Award THE GOLDEN MASK (The Leningrader, 2009; Carmen, 2014), one of the founders of Karlsson Haus theatre company.

Konstantinov has worked a lot in Russia and abroad, taught in the International Summer School of the Theatre Union of Russia (STD). In his choice of the repertoire for adults he turned to the finest works of literature (Carmen, Letter Book, Ward No.9, Crazy Day or the Marriage of Figaro, Turandot), he also writes his own plays in collaboration (The Leningrader, Iron). When directing children’s productions, without avoiding complex subjects and not being afraid of them, Konstantinov does not forget about the existence of “theatre of children’s joy” manifested in its best form. The director collaborates with designers Viktor Antonov, Evgenia Shakhot’ko, Valid Dakub, Viktor Nikonenko.

In 2016 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Union of Puppet Theatres UNIMA and became the Chair of the UNIMA Youth Commission.

In 2017, together with designer Viktor Antonov, he became the master teacher of the group of students, majoring in puppet theatre directing and design at the department of scenography at the Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS).

The principal productions:

A Magic Feather — 2007, Theatre of Marionettes named after E. S. Demmeni

On the Other Side of Gogol — 2010, Sakhalin Puppet Theatre

The Snowman — 2011, Obraztsov Puppet Theatre

Ward No.9 — 2011, Kirov Puppet Theatre named after A. N. Afanasyev

On the Way to the Sun (Kelionė saulės link) — 2012, Kaunas Puppet Theatre (Kauno lėlių teatras)

Carmen — 2012, Vologda Puppet Theatre Teremok

Crazy Day or the Marriage of Figaro — 2014, Obraztsov Puppet Theatre

The Leningrader (new version) — 2015, Cube Theatre Studio together with Obraztsov Puppet Theatre

Iron — 2015, Puppet Theatre of the Republic of Karelia

Letter Book — 2015, Moscow Chamber Puppet Theatre for Children

“What do we, puppeteers, do? We animate the inanimate, enriching the game with meaning and thoughts of the great men, whether it is Andersen or Shakespeare. That is the euphoria and uniqueness of puppet theatre. When you watch productions by Nekrošius, you can see that he does everything by way of an object. He thinks in different terms, which are close to our terms, — by way of the material, symbol, sign.”
Alexei Goncharenko
“One may complain that puppet theatre is on the outskirts of the arts, lament about the conditions of work in regional theatres. This diminishes a person. Productions become trivial, major objectives are not being set anymore. Who would talk about experiment, if one may only hope to create a product, which can be sold? There are no outstanding events in the world of puppet theatre, no energy, similar to the one we spoke about at the beginning. This is our own fault. We should never be afraid of making mistakes, and then we will be rewarded. Every time we need to commit a heroic act. Let us get rid of the inhibitions.”
Alexei Goncharenko


Name Konstantinov Boris Anatolyevich

Date and place of birth 24 December 1968, Irkutsk Region, Zhigalovo

Education. Boris Konstantinov graduated from the East Siberian Academy of Culture and Arts, majoring in drama directing, and SPbGATI, majoring in puppet theatre directing – master teacher N. P. Naumov.

Career. In the student years, productions of the future director could be seen at the international festival of theatre schools in Wroclaw (Poland), in the program of the festival Theatres of St. Petersburg – for Children, at the international festival of puppet theatres of Mediterranean countries in Beirut.

Boris worked in a theatre of marionettes in Germany, taught at SPbGATI (RGISI). He is one of the founders of theatre-studio Karlsson Haus. He directed the III, IV, VIII and X International Summer Theatre Schools of the Theatre Union of Russia (STD). Since 2013 he has been the principal director of the State Academic Central Puppet Theatre named after Sergei Obraztsov (Moscow). Since 2014 he has been the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine about puppets and people Teatr Chudes [Theatre of Miracles]. Boris served as advisor on puppet scenes for Crime and Punishment, a rock opera by A. Konchalovsky and E. Artemyev. He directs productions in Russia and abroad.

Favorite authors, subjects, stories:  Favorite authors: Hans Christian Andersen, Maurice Maeterlinck, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol. Fairytales from different countries of the world – there is wisdom in them. Favorite stories: fictional, but not factitious. Favorite subjects: subjects as problems.

Favorite system of puppets/texture. There are no favorite systems for me – only those I need. Genre, goals, and objectives of a particular production determine the choice of system.

Does a performance need text? In puppet theatre it is not easy to deal with any work where the text plays the leading role. In my opinion, our theatre cannot stand wordiness. Therefore, one should manage to translate all the words into our visual language without losing the meaning. Or, trying to preserve the text of the author, one should adapt the work and find such a form, which the audience would understand.

Is the expression “puppet theatre” still relevant today? Yes, it is relevant. This is the meaning of my profession.

What, in your opinion, is the difference between puppet theatre in Russia and the West?  The main problem of the Russian school of puppeteers is that in most cases people join puppet theatre out of despair, whereas in the West they freely follow their calling.

What is useful about collaboration and cultural exchange? This is the opening of the paths leading to the world of knowledge – as well as an opportunity to speak different languages.

Mass Media Feedback:

“I am not going to savor impressive mise-en-scènes and unexpected meanings, causing applause. Although I am very tempted to go into detail, telling the reader that instead of a shawl Carmen throws a muleta over her shoulders, that the ox, bumping into torero’s stomach, transforms into his giant phallus, that the half witted Michaela does not take off her veil even at the end, that the tune of Habanera is actually very similar to the funeral march, but both can be played by moving the slide of the gun. It seems that the directors’ imagination knows no limits in impressive decisions. Yet, in fact it is strictly limited by two great Frenchmen of the 19th century, and this is the most adequate (in 150 years) translation of their story into the language of puppet theatre.”

Arina Shepeleva

"St. Petersburg Theatre Journal", 2013

“The most striking in The Leningrader is how totally different means grow together: the footage of the siege and specially shot frames, videos made on stage and the masterful work of the puppeteers in “the black masking” – all of those are organically interwoven into the fabric of the show. Invisible actors-puppeteers — Tatiana Smetanina, Yekaterina Maletina, Yana Mikhailova – are brilliant. Very rarely can you see such a fantastically precise animation of puppets and inanimate objects – such as a prewar red tram. On its last legs it is trying to help Leningraders to overcome the distance until it gets stuck in a giant snowdrift.”

Yekaterina Dmitriyevskaya

"The Screen and the Stage", 2015

Performances on the site:

The Scrap

Puppet theatre of Republic of Karelia