Bulgarian puppet theatre based in Plovdiv. The theatre, which would become the Durzhaven kuklen teatur Plovdiv (State Puppet Theatre Plovdiv, today generally called Puppet Theatre Plovdiv or Plovdiv Puppet Theatre in English) was founded in the autumn of 1946 by circus and marionette performer Georgi Saravanov, together with Peter Parvanov and a group of volunteer actors from the drama theatre. The first productions of the theatre were entertaining shows with marionettes. These performances followed quite closely either the circus style of performance, such as Nai-goliamata nagrada (The Biggest Award, 1947) by Todor Velkov, or the opera style, with Cherevichki (The Little Shoes/The Tsarina’s Slippers) by P.I. Tchaikovsky, and Tsar Saltan by Rimsky-Korsakov (1950-1953). Saravanov made puppets and directed the shows. When he left the company in 1953, the puppeteers turned to new types of puppets.

The company, which included Y. Saravanova, A. Deneva, K. Tomov, M. Yankova, Ivan Sivinov, A. Angelova, Iv. Dipchikov, and others, turned professional with a specific style of its own. After 1966, the theatre added to its company the first academically trained generation of actors and directors from the Natsionalna akademia za teatralni i filmovi izkustva (NATFA), National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts), among them V. Sivinova and Yana Tzankova, with the productions, Lubopitnoto slonche (The Inquisitive Elephant) after Rudyard Kipling, Kukli ot Kuklino (Toys from Toyland), Dedekivat Rutza (Detective Rutza) by M. Todia, and others.

In 1980, two preeminent directors from the younger generation, Slavcho Malenov and Petar Pashov, became active members of the company. Other company members of the younger generation included stage designer Silva Bachvarova, composer Peter Tzankov, and actors V. Sivinova, P. Dobrev, N. Sivinova, Jenny Pashova, E. Danailov. The most popular productions directed by Slavcho Malenov include Buratino after Tolstoy, Momche i viatar (The Boy and the Wind), Malkiat princ (The Little Prince) after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; and those directed by Petar Pashov include V lunnata staia (In the Moonlight Room) by Valeri Petrov, Puk (Puck) by V. Petrov, Don Kihot (Don Quixote) after Cervantes.

Over the years, other directors at the State Puppet Theatre Plovdiv include Vassil Apostolov (director of the theatre for many years), L. Kapon, Yu. Ognianova, Ivan Sivinov, and others. The theatre has toured almost all countries in Europe and Asia, and has received numerous awards.

(See Bulgaria.)