Puppetry in Slovakia and Czechia

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Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© SL'UK Bratislava, 2015

Puppet theatre for communities in Slovakia and Czechia is not only a popular form of traditional entertainment but also a way of conveying a vision of the world, and an educational tool with messages on moral values. The puppets, whose characters are real or imaginary, are mostly made of wood and animated using various methods. Initial bearers of the practice were families of travelling puppeteers whose works later absorbed local influences in language and themes using namely comical figures with distinct characteristics. Puppet theatre is an integral part of Slovak and Czech local theatre and literary tradition. It also plays an important role in socialization, helping performers to develop as creative thinkers and learn about cooperation, communication and to strengthen their sense of identity in society. Featuring with other traditional rituals and festive events like feast days, markets and fairs, puppet shows today come in many different forms but still draw from tradition. Practice bearers include performers, playwrights, puppet and costume makers, as well as stage designers. Skills are transmitted by imitation and practice within performer communities, while in Slovakia also transmission takes place in traditional puppetry dynasties, as well as through workshops run by not-for-profit organizations and music and arts schools.

The devils from the private puppet collection of family Anderle in Banská Bystrica
Character of Kašpárek in different design. Puppets from family puppet theater. Collection of Moravian Museum in Brno
Czech puppeteer František Petrák during the international festival of traditional puppet theater Anderleho Radvaň in Banská Bystrica
The 'Kašparek' puppet from the performance 'Johannes Faust' by the Slovak Marionetten Theatre from Bratislava
Viewers watching a puppet show at the opening 62nd Puppeteer's in Chrudim
Workshop with traditional family puppet theater during exhibition 'Family puppet scenes - modest little temples of the Muses' in Moravian Museum Brno
The puppet exhibition 'Alois Tomanek - Pavel Kalfus: together, but everybody is going by his own way'
Performance of the traditional theater Tyjátr from Nitra
Rastislav Anderle, representative of the fourth generation of puppet dynasty Anderle
Workshop of the creation of puppet theater during exhibition 'Forgotten Puppets' in Moravian Museum in Brno