The celebration of the 90thanniversary of the founding of UNIMA is conceived as a four-day gathering of puppetry experts, significant personalities from the field of puppetry, UNIMA representatives and aficionados of puppetry and theatre. The event will take place in Prague on 6 – 8 June 2019.
The international puppetry organization UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) was the first international theatrical body to be established in Prague, in 1929. Czechoslovakia played an important role not only at this initial stage, but also after the organization’s revival in 1957. Puppetry, as a significant theatrical form and means of reinforcing artistic and humanist values, was at the centre of not only puppeteers, but also artists, writers and theatre people throughout the 20thcentury, and UNIMA was instrumental in popularizing this theatrical art. UNIMA supported the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and later became an allied organization of UNESCO. In the politically divided world of the second half of the 20thcentury, it was one of the international theatrical NGOs that supported and facilitated international cultural relations not only in the area of puppetry, but also culture as a whole.
To mark the 90thanniversary of the founding of UNIMA, an international conference will be held on 7 June, 2019 – “The Role of UNIMA in the Recognition, Development and Importance of Puppetry in the 20thCentury and its Visions for the 21st Century” will be divided into three blocks, focussing on the history, present-day activities and future of UNIMA. The first block will highlight the early days of UNIMA prior to WWII, the second block will recall the revival of the organization’s activities in 1957, and the third will present UNIMA’s outlook for the 21stcentury. The programme of celebrations will take place during the oldest and biggest regular world exhibition of scenography and stage architecture, the Prague Quadrennial, and will include a discussion block on the theme of exhibiting puppets, titled Hanging Out (Puppets on Show), as part of the PQ Talks on 6 June 2019. Other events include the private view of the exhibition UNI…What? UNIMA! 100 Countries, 90 Years, 1 Passion, mounted by the Chrudim Puppetry Museum in the spaces of the Czech Centres Gallery and a gala evening in the Empire of Puppets theatre, same venue where UNIMA was established 90 years ago. Foreign guests will also have an opportunity to glean information about contemporary puppet theatre and visit a puppet performance in the programme of PQ+, in Prague or elsewhere.
The celebrations are organized by the UNIMA Czech Centre, the Arts and Theatre Institute and the Chrudim Puppetry Museum.
The partners of the celebrations are the Czech Culture Ministry, Capital City of Prague, the National Museum and Empire of puppets theatre.
The event is convened under the auspices of the Czech Commission for UNESCO.