Slovak puppet theatre founded in 1960 in Banská Bystrica. Under the artistic direction of poet and playwright Jozef Mokoš, the Krajské bábkové divadlo or KBD, as the theatre was called for its first thirty years, was, along with the Divadlo DRAK theatre, one of the most innovative theatres in Czechoslovakia during the 1970s and 1980s. Its varied repertoire, which included adaptations of poetic works as well as clown shows and fairy tales, was a perfect match for the great stylistic diversity practised by the directors and designers who worked there.
From 1971-1974, Pavol Uher (b.1948) mounted a significant series of pieces based on puns and featuring the character of Botafogo. They were later produced at all the Slovak puppet theatres. In 1975, the KBD, along with the Czech DRAK and the Polish Puppet Theatre “Marcinek” of Poznań (currently Teatr Animacji w Poznaniu or Poznan Theatre of Animation) collaborated on an international project, Jánošík (a popular 18th century Slovak highwayman who became a national hero). Karel Brožek, Josef Krofta and Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz co-directed the piece. Prominent among the other KBD creations were Karel Brožek’s staging of the fairy tales of Slovak poet Milan Rúfus (1978) and Kráska a zviera (Beauty and the Beast, 1977), using a mix of actors in stylized masks (bamboo cages worn on heads of actors performing negative characters) and black theatre technique, directed by Ľubomír Vajdička, with costumes and masks by Hana Cigánová and sets by Jiří Kubička. A production of Carlo Gozzi’s Kráľ jeleň (The King Stag, 1979) was also memorable.
Renamed Bábkové divadlo na Rázcestí (Puppet Theatre at the Crossroads) in 1990, the theatre became a venue for experimental work under the artistic direction of Marián Pecko and Iveta Škripková. A collage show about Slovak dissident writer Dominik Tatarka, Dojímate ma veľmi (You Who Condemn Me or, Overwhelmed by You, 1992), is considered one of the most remarkable productions in this theatre’s history. Taverna Magica (The Magic Tavern, 1993), adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Leonce a Lena (Leonce and Lena, 1994), adapted from Georg Büchner, were provocative and memorable productions. The theatre also produced shows for disabled children in the 1990s. The Puppet Theatre at the Crossroads also collaborates with drama authors and universities.
Since 2000, the dramaturgy of director Iveta Škripková has focused on gender plays and adaptations of literature for adults and children. Marián Pecko has become a well known puppet theatre director at home as well as in Poland (where he has been awarded Polish theatre prizes) and the Czech Republic. Pecko directs mainly repertory for adults (e.g. F. Kafka, T. Bernhard, W. Gombrowicz), combining in his productions different expressive forms including puppets.
- Krajské Bábkové divadlo Banská Bystrica 1960-1975 [The County Puppet Theatre Banská Bystrica 1960-1975]. Banská Bystrica: KBD Editions, 1975.
- Krajské Bábkové divadlo Banská Bystrica 1960-1985 [The County Puppet Theatre Banská Bystrica 1960-1985]. Banská Bystrica: KBD Editions, 1985.