International Puppeteers Unionn

Mezinárodní loutkařská unie

Union International de Marrionette



6 June 2019

Morning: individual visit to the Prague Quadrennial


4.30- 6.00 PM discussion Hanging Out (Puppets on Show) as part of PQ Talks in the PQ exhibition hall

Speakers: Lenka Šaldová (CZ), Mascha Erbelding (D), Nina Monova (RU), John Bell (USA), Simona Chalupová (CZ)    

Chair: Kateřina Lešková Dolenská, Martina Pecková Černá


6.30 PM Dinner

7.30 PM visit to the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre, Theatre Faculty of the Academy for Performing Arts in Prague) and puppet performance The Smallest of Sams, direction Julie Bártová

7 June 2019

9 AM-3.30 PM conference The Role of UNIMA in the Recognition, Development and Importance of Puppetry in the 20th Century and its Visions for the 21st Century

6 PM exhibition UNI…What? UNIMA! 100 Countries, 90 Years, 1 Passion

8 PM social evening UNIMA Soirée in the Empire of Puppets

8 June 2019

2 PM Visit to the Arts and Theatre Institute and lecture Current Czech puppet theatre scene by Kateřina Lešková Dolenská

Afternoon: individual visit to the Prague Quadrennial

See PQ+ recommended program on the link:

or Puppet Kucha by Puppets in Prague, 8 June, 7:30 P.M.,


The Czech UNIMA Centre

The Czechoslovakian Centre was a founding member of UNIMA at Říši loutek (Empire of Puppets) in Prague in 1929, while the Czech Centre was created after the establishment of an independent Czech Republic in 1993. The mission of the Czech UNIMA Centre is to support the development of the art of puppetry through contact between puppeteers of all countries and continents, to promote puppetry as a means of ethical and aesthetic education and to maintain the traditions of puppet theatre. The Centre keeps its members informed about events at UNIMA, including publications, developments in international puppetry and international courses and workshops. The Czech UNIMA Centre currently has 120 individual members from the ranks of professional and amateur puppeteers and 41 organisational members (puppet theatres and ensembles).

Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI)

Our mission is to provide the Czech and international public with comprehensive services in the field of theatre and individual services relating to the other arts (music, literature, dance, and the visual arts). We collect, process, and provide access to archival materials relating to the theatre. We conduct research, pursue educational activities, take part in international projects and publish specialised and scholarly literature. We are also home to the Creative Europe Desk Czech Republic – Culture Programme. The ATI is a government-funded organisation established by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. Founded as the Theatre Institute in 1959, it has been based in the baroque Manhart Palace on Celetná Street in downtown Prague since the 1970s. In 2007 the institute changed its name to the Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI). The International Cooperation Department’s mission is to promote Czech theatre arts abroad. We share information, keeping the Czech public informed about international developments in the performing arts and bringing news from the Czech performing arts scene to international audiences. Our promotion of Czech theatre abroad focuses primarily on contemporary Czech theatre. Thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of this field, with its diverse range of possibilities and platforms, our work often goes beyond theatre, branching into areas such as dance, music, literature, theatre scholarship and research, cultural and creative industries, cultural policy, cultural diplomacy and branding. The artists, companies, productions, activities and organisations involved in our promotional programmes are selected in consultation with IDU experts and members of the PerformCzech Dramaturgy Council. A fundamental part of the department’s work are its close collaborations with other partners, such as the Czech Centres, international professional networks and NGOs, and national and international independent or state-run cultural organisations.

Chrudim Puppetry Museum

The Muzeum loutkářských kultur v Chrudimi (Chrudim Puppetry Museum) occupies a unique position among the puppetry collections and exhibitions of Czech museums. The idea to create a puppet museum in Czechoslovakia dates back to 1929 (and coincides with the founding of UNIMA in Prague). Its establishment was not agreed upon until 1969, however, on the occasion of the Xth UNIMA Congress in Prague and the XVIIIth Festival of Amateur Puppetry in Chrudim that followed it. The long-term General Secretary of UNIMA, Dr. Jan Malík, initiated and coordinated the construction of the Puppetry Museum in Chrudim. His private collection became the foundation of the museum’s collection and, thanks to his initiative, the individual UNIMA national centres from various countries also donated puppets to the museum. Located just outside Chrudim, the museum opened its doors on July 2, 1972 and is made up of several spaces in addition to the central Renaissance building and depository. Approximately 10,500 puppets from more than 50 countries worldwide make up the collection, as well as another 50,000 collection items (sets, designs, press materials, photographs, manuscripts, puppet-themed art works) from more than 70 countries. The most interesting recent acquisitions include shadow puppets from the Cabaret Chat Noir and the marionette Dancer from the Nabots Theatre in Paris, attributed to the famous painter Edgar Degas. The library specialises in puppet theatre and contains over 15,000 volumes in Czech and foreign languages. The permanent exhibition, called The Magical World of Puppets, guides visitors through the history of Czech puppetry from works of folk art through to the modern period. Visitors can also investigate the world of shadow puppets from Indonesia and China, marionettes from Burma, and the Kathputli puppets of India. A playroom is located in the museum and contains different types of puppets for children to play with. Visitors can also enjoy the refurbished summer terrace, a relaxing venue which also hosts cultural events such as concerts and theatre performances. The Chrudim Puppetry Museum is open daily, including Mondays, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The museum is fully accessible to disabled visitors.

Empire of Puppets

Amateur puppet theatre Říše loutek (Empire of Puppets) will celebrate 100 years of uninterrupted operation next year. Founded by sculptor Vojtěch Sucharda and his wife, painter Anna Suchardová-Brichová, on the outskirts of Prague, the ensemble quickly made an excellent name for itself. This resulted in an invitation to relocate to the newly built Central Municipal Library in the centre of Prague and, in 1928, Říše loutek moved into its expertly designed and technically well-equipped new home. In May of 1929, UNIMA was established here, during a Gathering of Puppet Workers. Today Říše loutek gives between 100 to 120 performance each season, which runs from October until April. The majority of productions are aimed at young audiences, but the ensemble occasionally performs for adults as well. Říše loutek also prepares exhibitions, offers regular performances for the hearing impaired and runs a studio program for children. In 1991, the ensemble returned to a club format; today it has about 60 members.


The oldest international theatre organisation in the world, the UNion Internationale de la MArionnette (UNIMA) is a non-governmental organisation affiliated with UNESCO. Its members, who come from all over the world, contribute to the development of the art of puppetry. This organisation and art form allow us to promote the noblest human values such as peace and mutual understanding between people regardless of origin, political or religious convictions of cultural differences, in accordance with the respect for fundamental human rights defined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10th 1948. In this way, UNIMA’s work constitutes cultural diplomacy. Present in more than 90 countries, UNIMA is a platform for sharing and exchange between individuals who practice puppetry (whether amateur or professional), work on this art as researchers or historians, or simply have a passion for the art of puppetry. UNIMA supports meetings, conferences, festivals, exchanges and collaborations, embraces opportunities to collaborate with people in all areas of puppetry (therapy, teaching, training, research, documentation, collections, exhibitions, etc.), and supports the collection and distribution of information and publications about research, courses and workshops.