Slovak puppet theatre. Created in 1957 under the name Štátne bábkové divadlo (State Puppet Theatre), it was re-named Bratislavské bábkové divadlo (Bratislava Puppet Theatre) in 2002. The theatre was founded (after the example of theatres in Žilina and Nitra) by an amateur puppet company, the Cinema Theatre for Children. Its founding director, Ján Ozábal, served until 1975. He became the first president of the Slovak section of UNIMA, founded in 1969. Ozábal played an important role in the professional organization of the theatre, but also as the author of articles on the puppet theatre and of plays for amateur companies. His adaptation of The Curious Little Elephant (in Slovak, Zvedavý sloník), based on one of the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, became a great success, and was often performed by professional companies.
The early days of Bratislava’s State Puppet Theatre are closely associated with two people: Zdeněk Říha, who directed almost every show in the first three years, and the scenographer and puppet designer Bohdan Slavík, who worked there through the mid-1970s. The 1970s brought a fruitful collaboration between the young director Pavol Uher and the scenographers Ján Zavarský and Eva Farkašová. Some of their more notable productions are Rozprávky na nit (Stories on a String), Botafogo, Kráľ a kúzelník Žito (The King and the Rye Magician), Peter a vlk (Peter and the Wolf) by Sergei Prokofiev, Petruška (Petrushka), Zamagurské rozprávky (Tales of Zamagurie), Cisárove nové šaty (The Emperor’s New Clothes), Vták Ohnivák (The Firebird) by Igor Stravinsky, and Drevený princ (The Wooden Prince) of Béla Bartók.
Pavol Uher worked increasingly often with the outstanding Slovak scenographer Hana Cigánová, whose significant contribution to the State Puppet Theatre began in the 1980s. Among the productions in her repertoire are: Plášť (The Overcoat), a play based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story performed with masks directed by Roman Polák; Guliverove cesty (Gulliver’s Travels), Mozart’s Čarovná flauta (The Magic Flute), and Donizetti’s Nápoj lásky (The Elixir of Love), all directed by Jozef Bednárik, which combined actors, singers, and a variety of puppets; Diablov most (The Devil’s Bridge), Objavenie Ameriky (The Discovery of America), and Krištof Kolumbus (Christopher Columbus), directed by Ondrej Spišák; and Gilgameš (Gilgamesh), directed by Karel Brožek.
Widely renowned for the skill of its puppeteers, the Bratislavské bábkové divadlo (Bratislava Puppet Theatre) tours to national and international puppet festivals.
- Encyklopédia dramatických umení Slovenska [Encyclopedia of the Dramatic Arts of Slovakia]. Bratislava: VEDA, Slovenská akadémia vied, 1990.
- Štátne bábkové divadlo 1957-1982 [State Puppet Theatre, 1957-1982]. Bratislava: ERPO, 1982.