Collezione Maria Signorelli
Posters of puppet theatre productions and festivals
Puppets of Maria Signorelli
The fairy tales, nursery rhymes and films
Shows with classical and modern texts, films
The ballets of Maria Signorelli
19th-20th century Italian rod and glove puppets
19th-20th century Italian marionettes
20th century foreign rod and string puppets
Sicilian, Pugliese and Neapolitan puppets
rod, glove and string puppets
and card theatres, sets and characters
of puppet and marionette plays
of puppet theatre productions and festivals
Maria Signorelli was a member of the International Council of UNIMA (International Union of the Marionette), which was founded in Prague in 1929. The great Podrecca was active in UNIMA until the Second World War put a temporary end to meetings.
Postwar, once it was reconstituted, Signorelli took an active part in UNIMA, from the first Congress in 1957, convinced that ‘puppet theatre, interpreting the human world in terms of marionettes, puppets , shadow puppets or any other form, offers enormous scope for the need to escape and for poetry that we all harbour’.
UNIMA succeeded in bringing creators from all over the world together: the Italian section was founded in 1980 and Maria Signorelli became its president. She was a very keen observer of puppet theatre from all the over the world, and seized every opportunity to see them at work.
This explains the hundreds of posters in the collection: they relate to all the festivals and performances of puppet theatre she saw for herself, particularly in Eastern Europe, since at the time UNIMA promoted its preservation there and the development of this branch of theatre.
Posters and playbills offer witness to the enthusiasm this type of theatre aroused from the 1950s on: they advertise festivals organized and companies active in places such as Teheran, Prague, Bucharest, Charleville Mézières, Warsaw, Pecs, Geneva, Nashville (Tennessee), Cordoba, Osaka, Cairo and The Hague, Barcelona, Algiers, Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and many others.
There is also a section of several dozen antique items, among them the original nineteenth-century poster for a Turin theatre announcing an Evening of Arlecchino with the title The ass’s skin or groom him gently.
The posters are eloquent evidence of the vitality and impact of