The Czech UNIMA Centre is one of the oldest in the entire association. Already in 1929 when UNIMA was founded in Prague, representatives of Czech puppetry were among the initiators of the organisation’s activities. And in 1957, there were Czech puppeteers yet again who helped renewing UNIMA after the war.
Currently, the Czech Centre has 165 members and is managed by a board of ten people, meeting at least twice a year.
In addition to providing consultations for foreign guests and answering their questions sent to the centre which has its seat in Prague, the Institute of Arts – Theatre Institute, the centre regularly organises several other events:
There belongs to the most significant activities of the Centre establishment of the branch puppetry show, since 1991, the main one has been a puppetry showcase called Přelet nad loutkářským hnízdem (One Flew Over the Puppeteer’s Nest) with participation of professional and amateur puppetry groups. In recent years, the festival also included solo performances of foreign guests Since 1997, theatre critics and scholars have been also selecting the winner of the Czech UNIMA Centre award called the ERIK and given during the festival to the most stimulating and inspiring show of the year (within last two years this price has been awarded to Budulínek by Naïve Theatre Liberec (2012) and Dášeňka produced on the basis of the book by Karel Čapek by Theatre Goose on the String from Brno (2013).
For the Czech UNIMA Centre and even for the Czech puppetry as a whole there was significantespecially the year 2012, which was the year of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Puppeteer periodical. To this jubilee there was hold an exhibition in Puppet Museum in Prague and Pilsen and at the opportunity of the Skupa’s Pilsen (June 2012) there was organised internationalseminar commemorating the 100 years of Loutkář (Puppeteer), “The Contemporary Means of Media Communication” in the Museum of Puppets, Plzen. The guests of the seminar invited to the Skupova Plzeň international puppetry festival (17–21 June 2012).
At the Chenged Congress in China in the year 2012 the Czech UNIMA Centre was represented by Stanislav Doubrava (as a member of the executive board and chairman of the International Festival Commission), however do to health reason our Councillor Mr. Jaroslav Blecha did not participate, who was also candidate to the executive board and the Czech representation was bolstered by Mr Tomáš Froyda, who was elected another UNIMA Councillor during this Congress.
The highly distinct action consultatively participated by the Czech UNIMA Centre in 2013 was the most extensive exhibition of Czech Puppets up to now in USA ( Museum of Art in Colombo, Ohio under name „ Strings Attached“) in March 2013.
During the Mateřinka Fest in 18th – 22nd June 2013 there was a meeting of the International Puppet Festivals Commission under support of the IDU/Czech UNIMA Centre.
The Centre has organised another year of the One Flew Over the Puppeteer’s Nest and granted patronage over the Fest Spectaculo Interesse in Ostrava.
Recently the Czech Centre continues in all their activities – in Fall 2014 prepares (Together with the Puppeteer periodical and Institute of Arts – Theatre Institute) the international workshop on actual state of Czech puppeteers called “Czech Puppet Theatre – tradition, legend and reality” that shall directly follow up already 23rd year of the One Flew Over the Puppeteer’s Nest
News from the General Secretariat of UNIMA and interesting titbits about the activities of the Centre are regularly published in the Loutkář magazine, the oldest puppeteers periodical of the world that is following UNIMA activities already since 1929. Information about the activities of the Czech centre is also available at the website www.divadlo.cz/unima.