Wroclaw Puppet Theatre
Wrocławski Teatr Lalek
Name given in 1968 to the Polish puppet theatre founded in 1946 in Wroclaw (Wrocław) by Elżbieta and Zenon Kalinowicz. The company operated as a puppet theatre of the dramatic theatre of the city until 1962, at which time it became an independent institution under the name Chochlik (Gnome). Under the management of Stanisław Stapf (1963-1975), it joined the group of highly regarded puppet theatres in Poland, especially after the 1967 inauguration of the Mała Scena (Little Stage) for adults with the play Memento de verdad (Memento of Truth) by Federico García Lorca, directed by Andrzej Rettinger. The theatre was soon dominated by the work of Andrzej Dziedziul. Also in 1967, Stanisław Stapf set up the Studium Aktorskie Teatrów Lalkowych (SATL, Studio for Puppet Theatre Actors) at the theatre, a nucleus and model of modern training methods for puppeteers in Poland (see Wydział Lalkarski we Wrocławiu [lier]Faculty of Puppet Theatre in Wroclaw[/lier] and Akademia Teatralna w Białymstoku [lier]Theatre Academy of Bialystok[/lier]).
From 1975 to 1981, the Wrocławski Teatr Lalek was headed by Eugeniusz Koterla. He was succeeded by Wiesław Hejno (1981-2002), actor, stage director and teacher associated with the Wroclaw theatre since 1967.
Hejno expanded the activity of the Mała Scena where he produced, together with stage designer Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz, such plays as Czarownice (The Witches, 1971), Opera za trzy grosze (The Three Penny Opera, 1977) by Bertolt Brecht, and Celestyna (Celestine, 1982) by Fernando de Rojas. From the mid 1980s, Wiesław Heino with Jadwiga Mydlarska-Kowal, possibly the most original Polish stage designer, have established a form of “auteur” (author’s) puppet theatre where they explored the world of ideas and experimented with the visual and stage metaphors in their joint productions of Proces (The Trial, 1985) by Franz Kafka, Gyubal Wahazar (1987) by Witkacy, Faust (1989) by Goethe, Niedokonania (Unaccomplished, 1994) after Kafka, Richard III (1997) by William Shakespeare, and Śmieszny staruszek (Funny Old Man, 2001) by Tadeusz Różewicz.
Since 2002, under the direction of Aleksander Maksymiak (2002-2007), then of Roberto Skolmowski (2007-2011), and finally of Janusz Jasiński and Jakub Krofta as artistic director (since 2012), Wrocławski Teatr Lalek is searching for a new, contemporary orientation.