Loutkářská Chrudim / Puppeteers Chrudim is the oldest unceasingly lasting puppet festival in the world that has been established in Chrudim in 1951.
In the main program it presents a selection of the best productions from the Czech nonprofessional puppet theatres in a given year and there are also many inspiring professional puppet shows with an international participation to be seen. In 2021, the festival celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Puppetry in the Czech Republic
- Puppet theatre has been performed in the Czech lands since the 16th century. The greatest expansion was recorded in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century.
(in 1930 there were over 3,000 puppet groups in the Czech Republic)
- In 1912 the world’s first puppet magazine Loutkář (Puppeteer) has been published.
- In 1929 the international puppet organization UNIMA was established in Prague, it brings together almost 100 national centres.
- In 1952 the Department of Puppet Theatre was established at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU), making it the first university puppetry workplace in the world.
- In 1972, the Chrudim Puppetry Museum first opened its doors.
- Since 2016, the joint Czech and Slovak nomination “Puppetry in Slovakia and the Czech Republic” was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Festival Loutkářská Chrudim
The need for Czech puppeteers to meet and confront their work culminated at the 11th General Congress of the Puppet Camp 1st – 4th July 1950 in Chrudim where a proposal was made to hold a showcase of nonprofessional puppeteers in this town. Within a year, this happened, and on July 2, 1951, the 1st Puppeteers Chrudim began to fulfil the task of a school of Czech puppetry, not only with its performances, but also with regular discussions, lectures and seminars.
Puppeteers Chrudim has always been a showcase of the best puppet productions of individual regions in that year. Every year, hundreds of puppeteers come to see the performances, think about them, learn various skills and discover new initiatives, procedures, approaches and trends. In this way, the festival shows the direction in which the puppet theatre is heading. And that is the reason why Puppeteers Chrudim made and still makes sense.
The puppet theatre is thus an invaluable source of inspiration for creativity in the field of national literature, theatre, fine arts, film, crafts and folklore. In its current form influences appear both from traditional domestic folk culture and from the culture of European nations.