Ester Ambrosino

Director / choreographer

Ester Ambrosino, a native of Sicily, is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Tanztheater Erfurt, which she founded in 2007.
After studying classical dance in Palermo, she completed a degree in theatrical dancing at the renowned Folkwang University in Essen. From 1994 to 1998 she was engaged by the Folkwang Tanzstudio - FTS under the direction of Pina Bausch. Ester Ambrosino was guest dancer in The Rite of Spring and in Tannhäuser at the Tanztheater Wuppertal.
From 1998 she was a member of the Tanztheater Bremen under Susanne Linke, danced for Urs Dietrich and with Catherine Diverrès' company. Artistically, Ester Ambrosino is especially influenced by her work with renowned choreographers such as Malou Airaudo, Libby Nye, Rodolfo Leoni, Stephan Brinkmann, Mark Sieczkarek, Daniel Goldin, Raffaella Giordano, Henrietta Horn and Irene Hultmann.
Since 2004, her own choreographic repertoire has included dance solos as well as directing various choreographies for Tanztheater Erfurt. As a guest, she has choreographed and directed, for among others, the DNT Weimar (Winterreise by Elfriede Jelinek, 2013), the KonzertTheaterBern (Biedermann und die Brandstifter (Biedermann and the Arsonists), 2014) directed by Claudia Meyer, and in 2018 Stravinsky's Firebird under the musical direction of Zoi Tsokanou for the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. With her productions of the Gluck opera Orpheus and Eurydice and Handel's Hercules, both being in collaboration with Theater Erfurt, she won the Audience Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In 2015, Ester Ambrosino was awarded the Culture Prize by the City of Erfurt.

In the 2020/2021 season, she is responsible for directing and choreographing "Novecento - The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean", a co-production with Theater Waidspeicher, Tanztheater Erfurt and Theater Erfurt.

Mila van Daag

Costume designer

Mila van Daag studied product design, architecture and theatre at the Bauhaus-University Weimar and at the Akademie Minerva in Groningen. Since 2006 she has developed project related sets for film and theatre.

After three years as props assistant at the Stadttheater Giessen, where she was responsible for numerous sets, she joined Theater Erfurt in the 2012/2013 season as props assistant and designed the set for “King Thrushbeard”, “The Coronation of Poppaea” and “Master Class”. Mila van Daag worked as set designer for “The Ring of the Nibelung (in one evening)” a co-operative project between Theater Erfurt and Theater Waidspeicher.

At Theater Waidspeicher she created the costumes for "The Glass Menagerie“, "Love of Seven Dolls“, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" , "Animalists“ and for the co-production with Theater Erfurt "The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland". In the 2021/2022 season Mila designed the costumes for "The Day Grandma broke the Internet“, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and “Novecento”.

Bärbel Haage

Stage and puppet designer

Bärbel Haage was born in Erfurt in 1975. This visual artist, illustrator, theatre and film maker studied puppet theatre scenery at the historic Prague College, School of Art & Design from 1994 to 1997.

Since then she has been involved as a stage/puppet designer in numerous theatre and puppet theatre productions. From 2002 to 2005 she was the director of design at the Dresden Puppet Theatre. Over the last few years she has realized four German-Czech animated film projects. Additionally she worked many times with the Czech Forman-Theater and these co-productions have repeatedly received renowned Czech prizes for drama.

Bärbel Haage designed the stage, puppets and costumes for “The Oracle or The Bear, the Peacock and the Secret of the Old Hare” and for the Grimm fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin".

Gisa Kuhn

Costume designer

Photo by: Werner Hinniger

Coco Ruch

Set and costume designer

Coco Ruch was born in 1970 in Freiburg, Breisgau. She has lived and worked in Erfurt since 2000. From 1988 to 1994 she studied painting/graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. She graduated as a master student under Reiner Küchenmeister. Exhibitions followed in Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, Berlin and Erfurt.
From 1991-1996 she studied expressive dance under Freia Leonhardt and worked on projects with her. Then she moved to Berlin in 1996 and entered the world of theatre imagery with her initial work in puppetry and puppet making at the ACUD Theatre. Since 1998, she has been designing and building sets for performances, theatre, theatre sculptures, etc. From 2002 to 2011, she worked with and studied under the costume and set designer Ella Späte.
Coco Ruch has worked with: ACUD Theater Berlin, Theater unterm Dach Berlin, FEB Eisenach, Theaterscheune Teutleben, Shakespeare Company Berlin, Serkowitzer Volksoper Dresden, Theatersommer Erfurt, Erfreuliches Theater Erfurt, Die Schotte Erfurt, Sommerkomödie Barfüßerruine Erfurt.

The costume design for Krabat in the 2021/22 season was is her first collaboration with Theater Waidspeicher.

Photo by: Marcel Krummrich

Kerstin Schmidt

Stage, puppet and costume designer

Kerstin Schmidt was born in Halle/Saale in 1960. From 1978 to 1980 she did a training as a men's tailor, followed, by a training and qualification as fashion designer from 1980 to 1983. From 1983 to 1989 she did evening classes at the School of Art Berlin/Weißensee. Since 1990 she has been working as a freelance set designer for theatre, opera and puppet theatre productions. Since 2010 she has run “Engel-Schmidt Produktion” with Frank A. Engel.

For Theater Waidspeicher, Kerstin Schmidt designed the set and puppets for "Grand Hotel", "The Seven Ravens", "Amadeus", "Heart of Stone", "King Lear“, "The Wooden Horse“, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”, “The Master and Margarita”, “Pinocchio” and “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”.

In the season 2022/2023 she designs puppets, sets and costumes for “Gold Power Love Death – The Song of the Nibelungs”.

Juliane Solvång

Puppeteer and actress

Juliane Solvång was born in Berlin in 1978. After school she worked as a stage and costume design assistant. From 1999 to 2003, she studied Puppetry at the "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" in Berlin). In 2008, she moved to Sweden. As a puppeteer, actress, set and puppet designer she worked for various theatres in Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia. During the last years, her work was mainly focussed on Visual Storytelling and Photography. In 2019, she decided to return to Germany with Erfurt as her new home town.

In the 2021/22 season she appears in:
The Day Grandma broke the Internet (Der Tag, an dem die Oma das Internet kaputt gemacht hat)

Kristine Stahl

Puppeteer and actress, director

Kristine Stahl was born in Schwerin in 1967. From 1986 to 1990, she studied Puppetry at the "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" in Berlin). She performed in Erfurt, Halle and Naumburg. As well as her employment as a puppeteer and actress she has also worked as a director and set and puppet designer for various German puppet theatres including Karlsruhe, Magdeburg, Naumburg, Chemnitz, Bautzen, Erfurt and Leipzig. Kristine Stahl was engaged at Theater Waidspeicher as puppeteer and actress from 2009 to 2017. As a director, she put on stage "Leon, the Pirate" and "The Oracle or The Bear, the Peacock and the Secret of the Old Hare". In the season 2020/2021 she was the director and set designer for "The Moon takes his Socks off at Night".

In the season 2022/2023 she is the director and set designer of "Pretty Lola, Pleasant Liesel".

In the 2022/23 season she appears in:
Heart of Stone (Das kalte Herz)

Maria-Elisabeth Wey

Puppeteer and actress

Maria-Elisabeth Wey was born and raised up in Berlin. After her diploma at the "Ernst Busch“ Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin, she performed in Berlin, Jena, Meiningen, Dresden, Gera and Erfurt. Since 2003 she has worked in over 40 productions at Theater Erfurt, e.g. in "Anatevka", "God of Carnage", "Urfaust", "The Imaginary Invalid", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", in various DomStufen-productions for children as well as in musical, operetta and Christmas fairy tale productions. Besides that, Maria-Elisabeth Wey is a freelance lecturer for drama, pantomime and mask play. In addition, she worked as puppet designer for different theatres. Numerous guest performances have led her to Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Denmark, France, Poland and Austria.

In the 2021/22 season she appears in:
Animalists (Animalisten)

Nadine Wottke

Set Designer / Puppet and Stage Creation

Nadine Wottke was born in Arnstadt in 1978. From 1998 to 1999 she studied media design at the Bauhaus University Weimar and then transferred to studying fine art at the Faculty of Design at the Bauhaus University Weimar, which she finished with a diploma in 2007.

She has lived in Erfurt as a freelance artist since 2007. From 2007 to 2019, she was a lecturer at the Erfurt School of Painting, and also took on teaching assignments at the University of Erfurt and the Bauhaus University Weimar. For her work, which has been exhibited in Erfurt, Berlin, Münster, Basel, Zurich, Barcelona, New York and Miami, among other places, she has received various prizes and scholarships, including the scholarship of the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Thuringia in both 2008 and 2017 as well as the Pulse Award Miami in 2012.

Since 2018, Nadine Wottke has been employed as a staff member in the studio of Theater Waidspeicher. The overall set design for the production "Four Tales of Heaven and Earth" in the 2020/2021 season at Theater Waidspeicher is her first independent theatre work. In the 2021/2022 season, she took on the overall design for the production of "Tom Thumb".

In the 2022/2023 season, she is responsible for the overall design of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier".

Photo by: Marcel Krummrich

Andres Böhmer

Musician and composer

Andres Böhmer is the grandson of a church cantor in Berlin and since his childhood has been inspired by music. In his youth he spent several years in Uppsala (Sweden) where he discovered his passion for the guitar and for composing music. He graduated from the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig majoring in jazz guitar. Andres worked in Germany and abroad as bandleader and sideman. During this time, he recorded numerous albums of his own that various German jazz labels published. Furthermore, Andres has been active in Germany as composer, producer and live musician for theatre and film for quite some time. He has worked with various city theatres in central Germany as well as groups and solo artists in figure theatre, dance theatre, comedy and travelling shows.

In 2009, he composed the music for the Theater Waidspeicher production of "Moby Dick", in 2017 for the production of "The Oracle or The Bear, the Peacock and the Secret of the Old Hare" and in 2020 for the production of "Four Tales of Heaven and Earth".

For the 2021/2022 season Andres Böhmer composed music and sounds for the Theater Waidspeicher production of “Krabat“.

Carsten Bürger

Stage and puppet designer

Carsten Bürger was born in Dresden in 1972. He studied wood-sculpture in the department for “Design of Playing and Learning” at Burg Giebichenstein Halle/Saale. Since 2002 he has worked as a designer and puppet maker with various theatres as well as being active in other artistic directions. Thus he has worked on "Pinguine können keinen Käsekuchen backen" for Kleine Bühne Naumburg, "König und Königin Drosselbart" for Deutsch-Sorbisches Volkstheater Bautzen, "Kleine Meerjungfrau" and "Weihnachten bei Tiger und Bär" for Theater der Jungen Welt Leipzig, "Die Schwarze Mühle" for Theater der Jungen Generation Dresden and "Nur ein Tag" for Dresdner Projekttheater.
At Theater Waidspeicher, he designed the stage and puppets for "Leon, the Pirate" and the puppets for "Knight Tristan and Princess Isolde".

Frank Alexander Engel

Director, stage and puppet designer

Frank Alexander Engel was born in Pasewalk (Germany) in 1965. In 1990 he entered "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" in Berlin), faculty of Puppetry and graduated as a puppeteer in 1994. After this he worked at the State Opera Berlin and the Thuringian State Theatre Meiningen and as director, set designer and performer at the Young Generation Theatre Dresden.

Since 1998 he has worked as a free-lance director and set designer for puppet theatre and opera. From 2003 to 2011 he was employed by the Puppet Theatre of the City of Magdeburg as director, set designer and performer. Since 2010 he has run “Engel-Schmidt Produtkion” with Kerstin Schmidt. For Theater Waidspeicher he directed und built sets and puppets for "Grand Hotel", "The Seven Ravens", "Amadeus", "Heart of Stone", "King Lear“, "The Wooden Horse", "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall", "The Master and Margarita", "Pinocchio" and "Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow".

In the season 2022/2023 he is the director and the set and puppet designer for "Gold Power Love Death – The Song of the Nibelungs".

Johannes Frisch

Musician and composer

The improviser, musician, double-bass player and composer Johannes Frisch lives in Karlsruhe. For decades he has performed at concerts and festivals as improviser, band member, produced music for theatre and worked together with musicians from all over the world. He composes for projects that are multi-disciplinary or cut across boundaries, makes music for dance, silent films, and theatre, especially figure theatre. Since 1990 he has worked regularly with Frank Soehnle and the wilde&vogel figure theatre. Numerous works were created with rat'n'X for the Tubingen figure theatre, he has written theatre music for among others the Theaterhaus Mannheim, the Badische Staatstheater and the Nationaltheater Mannheim. He is currently working in various band projects such as the Kammerflimmer Kollektief, The Schwarzenbach with Dietmar Dath, the Moscow by Heart trio with the Russian-born American Misha Feigin and he also collaborates with Ralf Wehowsky. To date his music can be heard on about three dozen vinyl LP’s, CD’s and audio plays.
During the 2019/2020 season he produced the music and sounds for “Animalists”.

Christian Georg Fuchs


Christian Georg Fuchs was born in Düsseldorf in 1972. He studied music theatre direction at the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg” and was granted a scholarship of the foundation "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes". He realized various productions in music-theatre, drama and puppet theatre in Hamburg, Weimar, Leipzig, Naumburg, Erfurt, Magdeburg, Neuss, Bautzen, Dessau and Chemnitz. Christian Georg Fuchs directed "Good Morning, Little Piglet", "King Arthur", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Romeo and Juliet".
From 2011 to August 2014 Christian Georg Fuchs worked as dramaturg and press dramaturg at Theater Waidspeicher Erfurt. Here he directed amongst others "Death in Venice", "Divine Comedy", "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", "Atlas of Remote Islands" and, as co-productions with "Theater Erfurt", "The Ring of the Nibelung (in one evening)", Purcells "King Arthur" and the Monteverdi opera "The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland".

During the season 2022/2023 he puts on stage "The Servant of Two Masters".

Martin Gobsch

Stage and puppet designer

Martin Gobsch, born in Erfurt in 1978, is a trained cabinetmaker, and trained as a scenery builder at the Waidspeicher Theatre from 2002 to 2004. The theatre then engaged him as a set designer and puppet maker until 2009. During this time, he was responsible for the sets of the productions: The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs, Little Muck and Moby Dick, among others. Since 2010 he has been working freelance for various German puppet theatres, including the Lindau Marionette Opera on Lake Constance, the Meiningen Puppet Theater, the Zwickau Puppet Theater, the Erfurt Theatre Summer and the Heiligenstadt Literature Museum. In addition to his exhibition workshop on Erfurt's Krämerbrücke, he runs two mechanical theatres in the old town.

In the 2021/22 season, he designed and built the puppets, and designed the stage set for Krabat.

Photo by: Steve Bauerschmidt

Udo Hemmann

Musician and composer

Udo Hemmann was born in Weimar in 1968. He studied bass guitar at the Franz Liszt School for Music in Weimar. Worked with various bands. Since 1990 he performed in numerous theatre productions in Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, Meiningen, Suhl, Baden-Baden and other places as a composer, singer, musician, arranger and musical director.
He arranged the composition and sound for "Leon, the Pirate" and "Rumpelstiltskin".

Sebastian Herzfeld

Musician and composer

Born in Halle (Saale) in 1963, Sebastian Herzfeld learned several instruments at an early age and soon played in various jazz bands.
Later he studied bass at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin and graduated in 1998.
Playing with musicians from the international jazz and world music scene (including Markus Stockhausen, Ramesh Shotham, Trilok Gurtu and Chris Jarrett), he developed his passion for foreign sounds and unusual rhythms.
Over the years, he turned more and more to composing music for theatre and film.
He has composed over eighty pieces of theatre music to date: as musical director of the neues theater and the Puppet Theater Halle (2005-2011) and as a guest at many theatres in Germany, including Schauspielhaus Bochum, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bregenz, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Schauburg München, Berliner Ensemble and the Burgtheater Wien. His music is characterised by his preference for idiosyncratic sounds such as the tone of his custom piano and his specially developed metal instruments.
For the album "Lieder von Liebe und Tod" (Songs of Love and Death) he received the world music prize Ruth in 2008 together with Anne Kaftan and the singer Bobo.
He released several albums with his own settings of German poets through the project by Bobo and Herzfeld.

The composition for "Pinocchio" in the 2020/2021 season was his first collaboration with Theater Waidspeicher. In the 2021/2022 season, he arranged the composition and sound for "Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow".

Photo by: Sami Bill

Atif Mohammed Nor Hussein

Director, stage and puppet designer

Raphael Köhler & Christian Scheibe

NIVRE Film & Studio GmbH
Media stage designer

Peter Lutz

Puppet designer

Peter Lutz was born in Baden-Baden in 1971 and studied puppetry at the "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" in Berlin). While still a student, he won prizes such as the Friedrich Luft Prize for the production of "Weihnachten bei Iwanows" (Christmas at the Ivanovs) at the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin and the Max Reinhardt Prize for "Die Maßnahme" (The Measure/Method) in Stuttgart. He performed as a puppeteer in Jim Henson’s "The Neverending Story III". After completing his puppetry course, he became a freelance puppeteer and puppet maker for example at the Schauspiel Frankfurt/Main. From 1998 to 2000, he worked for the Theater des Lachens in Frankfurt/Oder. He is currently a freelance puppeteer and designer for various theatres including the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam, the Theater Basel, the Staatstheater Stuttgart, the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Residenztheater and Metropoltheater in Munich, theatres in Constance, Würzburg and Marburg as well as for the puppet theatres in Magdeburg, Erfurt, Leipzig, Dresden, Nürnberg, Naumburg, Karlsruhe and Bautzen.

At Theater Waidspeicher, he created puppets for the productions of "Divine Comedy", "Mademoiselle de Scuderi", "Atlas of Remote Islands" as well as "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King".

In the season 2022/2023 he creates the puppets for "The Servant of Two Masters".

Frank Soehnle


Frank Soehnle is one of the most internationally recognised German puppeteers and directors. From 1983 to 1987 he studied figure theatre at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts Stuttgart. From 1987 to 1990 he managed the Karlsruhe Figure Theatre and in 1991 he founded the independent touring theatre figuren theater tübingen. Since then he has performed all over the world in solo or ensemble productions.
His Europe-wide work as a director explores the relationship between performer and puppet and sets visual accents in modern and classical text material.
The puppets created by Frank Soehnle are often human-animal or mythological hermaphrodites, he prefers marionettes, but his modus operandi stretches to objects that then take on a life of their own. Frank Soehnle also regularly gives lectures at various universities (Stuttgart, Berlin, Charleville-Mézières, Jerusalem, Tours).
During the 2019/20 season he put on stage the production of “Animalists”.

Nis Søgaard

Musician and composer

Matthias Thieme


Matthias Thieme was born in Erfurt in 1976. He studied Theatre at the University of Leipzig and theatre-direction at the "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch") in Berlin. He gained his first theatre experiences at youth theatre "Die Schotte" in Erfurt with which he still collaborates as guest director. Recent productions for theatre "Die Schotte" were "Hamlet" (2015), "Lysistrate" (2016) and "Tschick" (2017). His production of "Romeo and Juliet" won the German Amateur Theatre "Amarena" Prize in 2011. He has worked as director for Theater Plauen/Zwickau, neues theater halle, Figurentheater Chemnitz, Theater Stralsund/Greifswald as well as theatres in Stendal, Zittau, Esslingen, Magdeburg, Rostock, Cottbus and Leipzig. The majority of his productions are for young people. From 2010 to 2013 he was the senior drama director and puppet theatre director at the Theater Plauen/Zwickau.
His first production as a director with Theater Waidspeicher was "Moby Dick" in the season 2008/09. He directed and designed the stage for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" and "The Journey to the Centre of the Woods".

In the season 2021/2022 he was the director for "The Day Grandma broke the Internet" and "Krabat".

Martin Vogel

Puppeteer, actor and director

Martin Vogel was born in Werdau in 1968. After finishing school and working in a factory he studied Puppetry at the "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" in Berlin). While he was still studying he was employed as an actor at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin in Robert Wilson's production of "Doctor Faust Lights the Lights". From 1994 to 2004 he worked as a puppeteer at the Städtisches Theater Chemnitz. He also worked as an actor and singer in musical productions at the opera house in Chemnitz. He has been a member of the Theater Waidspeicher ensemble from 2004 to 2019. In 2020 "Four Tales of Heaven and Earth" was his debut as a puppetry director.

In the 2022/2023 season he appears in:
Pretty Lola, Pleasant Liesel (Fesche Lola, brave Liesel)
The Master and Margarita (Der Meister und Margarita)