The Puppet Museum in Pilsen profits on the local rich puppet-acting tradition and describes the activities of puppet theatres in Pilsen and its nearest vicinity. The exposition presents the beginnings of puppet-acting in Pilsen gradually from strolling puppeteers, the Puppet Theatre of Holiday Settlements, the Skupa’s Theatre, and the production of puppet ensembles in the second half of the 20th century up to the present.
The story of puppets the Museum narrates starts as late as in the 19th century when people in Pilsen could enjoy theatre performances of strolling folk puppeteers who travelled with their horses and carts through their favoured stands, so-called “Abstechern” or trips. The oldest famous families that operated strolling theatres were Kopecký, Maizner, Dubský, Kočka or Fink.
Another part of the exposition focuses on the development of puppetry in Pilsen at the end of the 19th century when the first standing puppet stage was established in addition to a number of associations. Škoda’s Theatre is represented in the exposition by a unique animated model made according to a well-preserved negative.
The story of the puppet theatres continues on the second floor where little family theatres, combining the worlds of children and adults, become a new phenomenon on the imaginary time axis.
A specific role in the history was played by the Puppet Theatre of Holiday Settlements where the association making contributions to summer holidays for poor children and the strolling theatre of Karel Novák joined their forces and the theatre settled permanently in Pilsen. The theatre was operated in the years 1913 - 35, and it was just this stage where the puppets of Spejbl and Hurvínek appeared for the first time. The Theatre of Karel Novák was reconstructed and mechanized for the Museum’s exposition to make it possible for visitors to perceive the atmosphere of the theatre at the time of its greatest fame.
Another part of the exposition is devoted to the renowned personalities, such as Gustav Nosek, Josef Skupa and Jiří Trnka, whose joint work gave birth to the probably most famous Czech puppets - Spejbl and Hurvínek. In order to make the set of puppet “super stars” complete, the exposition must not forget the “revolutionary” joker Punch who played a leading role in cabaret shows in his time, making fun of the political situation at the end of the World War I, or the favourable pair of jokers Grundle and Šlafunda from the Theatre of Karel Novák.
That the rich puppet tradition in Pilsen has not died the visitors can satisfy themselves in the room devoted to the ensembles of the present and recent periods. The ensembles represented in the Museum are Špalíček, V Boudě, Střípek, Rámus and Divadélko dobrý den.
The present professional Theatre Alfa with its puppets from numerous prized author performances presents itself on the third floor. In addition to the traditionally conceived exhibition areas, the Museum also offers a room where visitors can handle puppets and familiarize with the various puppet-leading techniques. This multi-purpose hall also serves as a place where theatre performances, lectures or conferences are organized.
Exposition map You can download here