Hypnotizing animation cycles ...

The-Spinning-Animation-Show is a unique presentation, a mix of exhibition and live performance, with different optical devices, which presents cyclic animation together with a cinematic soundtrack.


The show is the final presentation of a minimum four day Zoetrope workshop. The participants can be young talented youngsters, trainees or professionals, who develop animation on paper stripes, paper discs, record discs or transparent plexiglass. They can present their results themselves in an audio-visual Show on several optical devices like Zoetropes, Praxinoscopes or projection devices.


The duration depends on the number of produced animations. The show can portray a theme, a place or a story.

Zoetrope workshop with puppeteers at the Theatre of the Night in Northeim, held by Thomas Stellmach. A Zoetrope presents a loop animation.

A Zoetrope is an optical device invented around 1834, which can bring drawings of figures to life as if by magic. In the rotating cylinder of these device short repetitive cycles of movement can be shown such as running, waving, hopping, opening and closing etc.. The repetitions have a hypnotic effect on the observer. Zoetropes and Praxinoscopes are the forerunners of film technology. Despite the invention of film, the old techniques did not disappear. Animators use it to create fascinating animation cycles. I call this art of animation spinning-animation.


Since I’ve been teaching Zoetrope workshops, I’ve been fascinated by this device and loop animation.


I experimented with this in my new short film THE SAUSAGE RUN.

… sometimes made by talented youth,

In a Zoetrope workshop, participants produce instantly viewable animation clips that focus on a very short action of less than a second.

This making-of film was realized by Simone Klar for a Zoetrope workshop we led together in 2016. Among the participants were pupils with intellectual disabilities.


I have developed this six-day Zoetrope workshop and The-Spinning-Animation-Show for the first time for the summer academy of the German Prize Winners of the international youth creativ competition in 2015.

... sometimes developed with motivated trainess,

I was commissioned to hold a Zoetrope workshop at the Technical and Vocational College Straubing (FOSBOS/department of design) for the celebration “800 Years of Neustadt Straubing”. The goal of the workshop was to developed a Spinning-Animation-Show about the history of my home city Straubing with the help of four teachers and 30 young creative trainees. The show was called The Spinning History.

Animation stripes and discs


Finally, 81 humorously and succinctly animation loops of historical events were produced in two months. I was at the school four times for several days during that time for teaching and preparations. In the meantime, I composed music from prefabricated loops and developed a sound design with reference to the animations.


The results were presented by the participants and me on eight optical devices in a fascinating audio-visual Spinning-Animation-Show of 40 minutes.

Report by Niederbayern TV

Report by the Bavarian Broadcast TV

Photos of the show The-Spinning-History

… sometimes presented by enthusiastic professionals.

In 2018 I held a Zoetrope workshop in Northeim for the German association of puppeteers and puppet theatres UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette). The topic of the show was Plankton.

Photos of the show Plankton

We developed a Spinning-Animation-Show which presented an underwater world. In five days, eleven professional puppeteers created 35 animations, some drawn on paper strips, but also as three-dimensional objects on disks. The 25-minutes show was performed on six devices companied with live music played with a hang.

If you have any questions or consider booking me, please get in contact:

Idea and Realization

Thomas Stellmach


2D animation, object animation


The-Spinning-Animation-Show, Zoetrop-workshop, animation workshop