Founded in 1981 by artistic director Adrian Kohler and executive producer Basil Jones, Handspring Puppet Company is a puppet theater company based in Cape Town. It began as a theater for children, and in 1985 branched out into adult theater. Ranging from socially relevant political content to the personal and interpersonal dynamics of age and relationships, Handspring’s theatrical creations are widely regarded for their excellence in the art of puppetry. The company provides an artistic home and professional base for a core group of performers, designers, theater artists, and technicians, and their 16 theater productions to date have been presented in more than 30 countries around the world.
Perhaps best known for War Horse, their 2007 adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo, the Handspring Puppet Company has received numerous awards for its work, including a Special Tony Award (2011). It has collaborated with many directors and artists (it has an ongoing partnership with William Kentridge) and has presented at various festivals around the world. Adrian Kohler’s puppets are in the collections of the Stadtmuseum Munich, the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, and the Old Mutual Art Collection in Cape Town.