Alla Goniodsky (born April 15, 1956) is a Russian-born stage designer, puppet maker, painter, and sculptor. After initially studying at B. Ioganson St. Petersburg State Academy Art, Goniodsky went on to graduate from Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy. Goniodsky works as a stage designer with a focus on puppets and costumes. A few years after her productions first appeared in the Tver Puppet Theater, Goniodsky became the primary stage and puppet designer at Moscow Regional Puppet Theatre. After immigrating from Russia in 1991, she has lived and worked in Israel, Canada and the U.S. Goniodsky currently resides in Seattle.
Goniodsky has completed nearly 100 productions around the world. Some of her productions, such as "The Old Man and The Crane" have been in running for over 25 years. Her stage design sketches are now a part of the permanent collections of two Moscow museums: A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum and the State Museum of Children’s Theaters.
She became a member of the highly exclusive USSR Artist Trade Union in 1989. Her sculptures and paintings have been exhibited in galleries around the world, including Moscow Manege, the Ico Gallery in New York City, and the Patricia Cameron Gallery as well as Suzan Waltz Gallery in Seattle. She was one of the winners of the International Juried Competition EXPO 29. She also received the "Juror's Choice Award" in the 2015 KAC Artists' Exhibition.
Alla Goniodsky has created puppet, set, and costume designs for almost a hundred theater productions in the USSR, Israel and the U.S. She often sculpts and assembles her own puppets. This enables Goniodsky to further develop her design as she transforms the puppet from the sketch to the finished product.
"The Old Man and the Crane" Based on a Belarusian folk tale, the play is acted out by barefoot actors dressed as angels, in white robes with wings. They tell a humorous, tongue-in-cheek story by manipulating small puppets (under 2 feet) that resemble clay figurines. This production has received numerous awards and has been in running since 1986.
"Shinel" Based on Gogol's short story, The Overcoat (Russian: Шинель) was produced by for the Perm Puppet Theater in Russia. Goniodsky designed and sculpted over fifteen paper-mache puppets. She also designed the set, props and costumes, which were constructed in the theater. The production received a “Magic Wing” Perm Regional Festival award in 2013.
"The Tempest" A children's adaptation of Shakespeare's popular play, The Tempest was produced at the Seattle Children's Theater. With eight life-size puppets and four actors representing the twelve characters, Goniodsky helped merge actors and puppets into a single entity. For this production, she created massive papier mâché puppet heads and torsos, which rested upon tall wooden poles with flowing drapery. Heads would turn, move, and even come apart and interchange between the puppets. The Tempest received the Design Achievements award from Seattle Times Critics, The Annual Footlight Awards.
Goniodsky experiments with mixing oils, acrylics, collage, and encaustic. Her paintings are layers upon layers of paint, lines and collage elements. Her work is both contemporary and antique, often approaching monochrome sepia. The theater has a tremendous influence on her work and is evident in most of Goniodsky's paintings.
Goniodsky's drawings are also done in sepia tones, using walnut ink and a quill pen. She continues the theatrical theme by drawing scenes in dreamlike settings. Gayle Clemans, an art historian at the Cornish College of Arts, wrote: “She...[Goniodsky]... is more interested in ambiguous settings and moods than in concrete narrative."
Inspired by her theater work, Goniodsky often expands her drawing series into sculpture. In her exhibitions, sculptures are often present alongside two-dimensional artwork. She sculpts with clay, transferring the shape into a plaster mold and then creating the final sculpture out of papier-mâché, which results in a both light and sturdy structure. Sometimes, Goniodsky integrates found object and mixed media into the papier-mache.