• History History



The Zagreb Puppet Theatre was founded on February 6 in 1948. The first years were marked by the style of Vojmil Rabadan, its first artistic director, dramatist and director. The new names in puppetry were also introduced:  Bogdan Jerković, Velimir Chytil, Višnja Stahuljak, Kosovka Kužat Spaić, Borislav Mrkšić, Berislav Brajković, and set designers Marijan Trepše, Kamilo Tompa, Edo Kovačević and others.  In the 60s, the artistic approach was mainly realistic or mimetic and the permanent puppet designer was Željan Markovina, inventor of many effective and stylistically impressive technical devices. The frontrunners of the ensemble of the period were Dina Dožić, Nevenka Filipović, Jana Kašper, Krsto Krnic, Jaoakim Matković, Duje Novaković, Julije Perlaki, Hrvoje Švob, Andrea Šarić. For one whole decade (1963 -1973) the main venue was closed for renovation so the Theatre performed on many different stages in Zagreb and also had a series of successful guest performances in Syria, Romania, Bulgaria, Denmark and Russia.  In the 70s, the dominant stylistic mark was left by the set- and puppet-designer Berislav Deželić, who stepped away from realism in search of esthetic purity of form and created a unique visual and technical style of puppetry. In collaboration with the director Davor Mladinov, a series of critically acclaimed shows was produced: A Wizard of Oz, A Little Tiger, Blue Peter and others. Different, yet equally relevant shows were produced by directors Kosovka Kužat Spaić and Velimir Chytil, and the Theatre earned the reputation of being a puppetry pioneer in Croatia. The 80s and the 90s were the period marked by the style of Theatre's two permanent puppet designers Gordana Krebelj and Vesna Balabanić, and the shows were produced by the most renowned Croatian directors like Joško Juvančić, Božidar Violić, Georgij Paro, Želimir Mesarić, Zoran Mužić. The shows were mostly based on traditional fairytales. In that period, the Theatre also published so far the only periodical dedicated to the art of puppetry: LuKa. Again, for a number of years, the Theatre performed in another venue while its main building was being recontructed from top to bottom. In October 2004, the opening of the newly reconstructed building marked the fresh epoch in the Theatre's aesthetics.

The productions (over 320) are directed by a series of acclaimed directors (from theatre and film), based on classical titles and also new plays by contemporary authors. The Theatre visits domestic and foreign festivals and continues to explore endless poetical and technical possibilities of puppetry by introducing new puppeteers and puppet-designers, while maintaining its basic mission of entertaining and educating children by introducing them to the magical world of theatre and literature.

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