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Bodo Schulte (-Karera)

How did you become a puppet-player
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How did you become a puppet-player?

For a puppeteer, this is the most frequently-asked - and the most tiresome - question in the world!

Most people asking such questions expect to hear “…I was taken in as a poor foundling of uncertain age and gender by artists and gypsies; as a young lad I was apprenticed to a grumpy but decent carver of holy figures and lived isolated in the forest, then later, in search of my origins, I found the mysterious chest that had belonged to my father who, like my grandfather and great-grandfather, had once been a great puppeteer in the South Pacific....“

Yes, well, fact is...

I was born in 1963 and grew up in the Hönne valley in Westphalia, in a place near a limestone quarry which is just about as idyllic as a freight station in Damascus.

At some stage between doing an apprenticeship (industrial electrician) and getting a school leaving certificate, before doing civilian service (WWF Germany) and taking up my studies (certified social worker / film and television sciences), I attended a course on building marionettes.
After that, I built numerous – mostly hideous – decoration puppets to order.

Some friends and I then wanted to set up a marionette theatre together, and while doing research for this project, I came across puppeteer Heinz Peter Schmälter in Lünen. He turned out to be very supportive and I later did my second “apprenticeship” with him.

In the course of countless marionette performances of Grimms’ fairy tales or Mozart operas that lasted the whole evening, I became familiar with the everyday life of a puppeteer. In addition, I attended many seminars at “fabula“, Peter Röder’s seminar building, where I also got to know and love the work with foam rubber, band-saws, carving tools and modelling materials.
In 1987, Olaf Müller and I set up a mobile puppet theatre called “Puppentheater Pappnase“. Numerous new productions for children were made under this name and mainly performed in schools and kindergartens.

I continued working part-time as a social worker until 1994, when I decided to concentrate on puppetry and puppet-making as a profession.

I became increasingly involved in TV puppet performances, not only animating the figures, but also frequently writing the texts for the various puppet plays.
After KLEMENS SCHULTE-VIERKÖTTER for WDR TV came TIGER and TONI (Nickelodeon), CAPT’N BLUEBEAR (WDR), BERT (Sesame Street, NDR), MONTY and MITZI (Disney Channel), and many others.

After taking various courses in scriptwriting, the most recent one at the International Film School in Cologne, an ever-growing part of my work is now as a screenplay author writing concepts for children’s TV, series, full-length motion pictures and of course still for theatre plays.

My favourite work is probably seminars and workshops at which I train puppeteers, such as in Cairo (2005), Vienna (2007) and Moscow (2007). .