The team

Get to know our team :


Prof. Dr. Didier PLASSARD – Principal Investigator

Didier Plassard is a full professor in Drama and Performance Studies at the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3. As a specialist of contemporary theatre and of puppetry, he has published L’Acteur en effigie (L’Age d’homme, 1992, Georges-Jamati Award of Theatre Aesthetics), Les Mains de lumière (Institut International de la Marionnette, 1996, 2004), Edward Gordon Craig, The Drama for Fools / Le Théâtre des fous (L’Entretemps, 2012), and Mises en scène d’Allemagne(s) de 1968 à nos jours (CNRS Éditions, 2014). He was awarded a Sirena d’Oro at the Italian Puppet Festival Arrivano dal mare! in 2012, and was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2015.


Dr. Carole GUIDICELLI - Research Engineer

Graduated in Modern Literature from the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 and Doctor in Drama and Performance Studies from the University Paris 3, Carole Guidicelli has been working since 2009 in the field of puppetry, as a teacher at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (Charleville-Mézières, France), researcher, dramaturg (Company Succursale 101). She was in charge of study and development at the Institut International de la Marionnette (Charleville-Mézières), and editor of proceedings of the international conference Surmarionnettes et mannequins / Übermarionettes and mannequins : Craig, Kantor and their contemporary legacies (Institut International de la Marionnette / L’Entretemps, 2013). She was co-editor of ‘La Marionnette sur toutes les scènes’ (Art Press2, n° 38, 2015) and she has directed the digital series «Classe Théâtre» for the Nathan publishing house as well.


Ma Maxine SCHOEHUYS-KREISS - Computer science Engineer - 

 After graduating in digital archives at the École nationale supérieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothèques (ENSSIB) in Lyon, Maxine Schoehuys-Kreiss completed her training with a Master's degree in Digital Humanities to assist research in humanities and social sciences. She had the opportunity to hone her skills through the valorization of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century manuscripts and tapuscripts from the Gilliéron collection during an internship at the École française d'Athènes. Her interests in transcription and digital editing led her to join the PuppetPlays’ team. As an information system engineer, she contributes to the development of the online anthology of puppet plays.


Frédéric LE GAUFFRE - Communication Assistant (30%) 

A first prize winner in instrumental composition and electroacoustic music and winner of the Bordeaux Conservatoire Medal of Honour, Frédéric Le Gauffre completed his training with a DUT in bookkeeping and a diploma in payroll management. His career path was as varied and eclectic as his studies. He worked as a bookseller, payroll manager, composer and sound engineer in a research laboratory.

For the Puppetplays team, he is tasked with Design of the monthly newsletter and the  management of the website.


Dr Francesca DI FAZIO - Doctoral student (1st October 2019-30 September 2022), Post-Doctorate (May 2023-September 2023)


After a Master Degree in Contemporary Literature at the University of Bologna and an international professional training in dramaturgy at the Scuola Iolanda Gazzerro - ERT Fondazione (Modena), Francesca Di Fazio enrolled in a PhD in Drama and Performance Studies at the University Paul- Valéry Montpellier 3. Supervised by Prof. Didier Plassard, she develops research on contemporary writing for puppet theatre in France and Italy.

Ma Sophie COURTADE - Doctoral student

(1st September 2021-31 August 2024)

Sophie Courtade holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a master’s degree in modern literature (supervised by writer and Prof. Jean-Michel Maulpoix) from the University of Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle. She is interested in the crossroads of these two disciplines. In literature, she wrote her dissertation on the poet Henri Michaux and approached his work by crossing stylistics and visual studies. At the same time, in art history, she worked on shadow theatres in Parisian cabarets from 1870 to 1914. Thanks to the PuppetPlays project, she can extend her research on this specific form of puppet theatre. Her thesis, under the direction of Professor Didier Plassard, aims to find and study plays written for shadow theatre between the 18th and the beginning of the 20th century in Western Europe, in order to reconstitute their repertoires and determine their specific dramaturgy.


Dr Cécile DECAIX - Post-doctorate

(1st September 2023 - 31 August 2024)

Cécile Decaix holds a PhD in late fifteenth-century British literature. In 2019, she defended a thesis entitled ‘William Caxton’s Eneydos (1490): tracing the steps of a translator of Virgil in Early Modern England’, under the supervision of Jean-Christophe Mayer (CNRS - Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier 3). It was a critical, semi-diplomatic and partial edition of the first English translation of Virgil’s Aeneid to be printed. Her interest in research and in theatre encouraged her to get involved in the PuppetPlays project and to speak at the second symposium organized by the programme, ‘Portrait of the Puppeteer as Author’ in May 2023. Her paper, ‘Tracing the Steps of Victorian Marionette Scripts: Locating and Reconstructing Lost Puppet Texts’, is an exploration of a British version of William Bullock’s Little Red Riding Hood(late 19th century), its adaptation for an American audience and potential staging, proposed through a study of advertisements, other plays, props and sets from the period. Used to working from scant and incomplete sources, her project aims to explore the Victorian collection of playscripts and (re)discover sources neglected by research. Her work also aims to populate the PuppetPlays database with British plays, contribute to its translation into English, and engage in conversation with contemporary actors in the world of puppetry in Great Britain.


Dr Yanna KOR - Post-doctorate

(5 september 2022 - 4 march 2023)

Yanna Kor holds a doctorate in theatre and performing arts studies from the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 , which she obtained in 2019. She is a specialist in late 19th-century French theatre and 19th- and early 20th-century French puppet theatre. Her thesis, Les théâtres d'Alfred Jarry: l'invention de la scène 'pataphysique, is published by Otrante Publishing House.

Her research focuses in particular on fairground puppet theatre. Her interest in traditional puppet theatres led her to join the PuppetPlays team to work on the military repertoire of puppet theatres in northern France. More specifically, she will be examining the representation of war and its contribution to the construction of regional and national identities between 1871 and 1914.


Dr. Jean BOUTAN - Post-doctorate

(1st September 2020 - 31 August 2021 and 1st September 2021 - 31 August 2022)

Dr Jean Boutan is a former student of the École normale supérieure (Paris) and holds a PhD in Slavic and German studies from Sorbonne University in Paris. His thesis (to be published by the Classiques Garnier publishing house) addresses the legendary motif of Bohemian Amazons in Czech and German-language literature during romanticism. His long-standing interest in popular literature led him to join the PuppetPlays team: his research project focuses on the character of Don Juan in Central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dr. Manuela MOHR - Post-doctorate

(1st September 2021 - 28 Februrary 2022)

Manuela Mohr has a PhD in French literature and specialized in imaginative literature, particularly in the fantastic. Her thesis on The fantastic at the frontiers of cultures: lowbrow forms and elaboration of the sciences of the mind in the fantastic literature of the Second Empire was directed by Corinne Saminadayar-Perrin of the université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, and by Beatrice Nickel of the university of Stuttgart. Two prices have been awarded to her work: the French Prix Mérimée (destined for dissertations on the Second Empire) and the German Kurt-Ringger-Preis (best thesis in Romance studies 2021).

Manuela also participates at the Fantastic Festival of Béziers and is the author of several scientific articles and book reviews on her favourite research area. Her postdoctoral work for PuppetPlays will be on the implications of the intergalactical voyage narrated in German, French and Italian puppet plays, from the 19th century to today. As every type of animation (string puppets, hand puppets, shadow theatre...) implies its very own functioning, how is this science-fictional subject represented on stage, and what is its potential?


Dr. Anna LEONE - Post-doctorate

(9 May 2022 - 8 November 2022 ; 16 Januarry 2023. - 20 Augaust 2023)

Portrait photograhique d'Anna Leone

Dr Anna Leone holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. A revised version of her thesis has just been published by Classiques Garnier (Pupi et guarattelle, les marionnettes de Naples et de Palerme.  Une korémachie italienne). Later, her interest in the contemporary life of phenomena often considered as "popular traditions" led her to conduct a study on the patrimonialization and the revival of the Neapolitan cult of bones, within the LabEx CAP (Creation Art Heritage). 

For PuppetPlays, she will conduct a research on the repertoires for puppets in Campania and, in particular, on the creations of contemporary guarattellari. How do puppeteers, according to their interests and their own style, articulate "traditional" elements with technical or aesthetic innovations?