Josef Anton Stranitzky

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stranitzky, Josef Anton


Born circa 1676 in Styria (?); died May 19, 1726, in Vienna. Austrian actor and playwright; founder of the Austrian professional theater.

After studying at the University of Leipzig, Stranitzky became an actor and headed various itinerant troupes. He interpreted the role of Hanswurst, giving this comic character an Austrian flavor. He wrote several comedies, 14 of which have survived; these works are actually scenarios in which much of the performance depended on improvisation. Stranitzky’s mastery of characterization, biting folk humor, and bold satirical allusions greatly aided his troupe’s success. In 1706 he began working in Vienna, where he organized Austria’s first resident German-language theater in 1712.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.