Do You Know the Tradition of Czech Puppetry?

Do You Know the Tradition of Czech Puppetry?

Places where you can discover a unique Czech tradition

Do You Know the Tradition of Czech Puppetry?
Czech puppets, hand puppets, and puppet theatre as such has a long tradition. It is still popular among the Czechs, with nine professional puppet theatres in the country and hundreds of semi-amateur or amateur theatre companies. A few years ago, this Czech tradition was inscribed in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. You can meet puppeteers at town and castle festivals in the summer, while the autumn and winter months are an ideal opportunity to visit puppet museums and theatre performances. And we will tell you where to go.

Puppet Museum in Chrudim

The largest collection of puppets in the Czech Republic can be found in the historical town of Chrudim in East Bohemia where the Museum of Puppet Cultures is based. The permanent exposition entitled the Magic World of Puppets introduces puppets of Czech wandering puppeteers from past centuries, vaudeville puppets, family puppet theatres and decorations by leading Czech artists, such as Jiří Trnka. The international part of the exposition displays shadow puppets from Indonesia, a selection of puppets from India, Japan, China or Myanmar, and also a Vietnamese water puppet. And when you get tired of the exposition, you can stop at the puppet playroom and see for yourselves how a puppet theatre is performed.

Museum of Czech Puppets and Circus in Prachatice

There are numerous picturesque towns in South Bohemia. And Prachatice is one such town. And it is where the Prague National Museum has opened a branch called the Museum of Czech Puppets and Circus. The part dedicated to puppets maps the history from the oldest puppeteers through family and associated theatres to today’s professional stages. In addition to the traditional characters of devils, jesters and princesses with dragons, visitors can also see puppets made according to the designs of artists from the 19th century, or Jiří Trnka. The circus part includes historical magician and circus instruments, as well as fair attractions from the 19th century, such as a waxworks show with the heads of historical personalities and a moving mermaid.

Puppets in Plzeň

In the world, Plzeň in West Bohemia is not only famous for its beer and mechanical engineering, but also for puppetry. It is the birthplace of two important puppet creators, Josef Skupa, the father of the Spejbl and Hurvínek puppets, known mostly in Central Europe, and Jiří Trnka, a world-famous illustrator, graphic designer, animator and puppet creator. You can learn about both artists and their work in the Puppet Museum in the centre of Plzeň. The exposition is interactive, for example, you can play some short performances in the automatic puppet machines.. You will also see the puppets from the Plzeň theatre shows and you can visit the small museum café with a children’s indoor playground and a hall where you and your children can play with the puppets and try the different leading methods.

Where to Go to a Puppet Theatre

You have a few options in the Czech Republic. Even though majority of the puppet shows in theatres are in Czech, it can still be an adventure for your children. You can try the theatre Říše loutek in Prague in the Old Town and the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theatre, or the Ostrava Puppet Theatre. The Říše loutek theatre in Prague has two shows on its repertoire that are suitable for anyone regardless of the language they speak – the puppet operas Don Giovanni and the Magic Flute. If you are a fan of puppets and want to learn about this Czech tradition, you should not miss the shows when visiting Prague.