Puppets as a significant part of the Czech theatre first emerged in Bohemia in very early times and were especially used in cult and folk ceremonies. The fact that the Czech kingdom was part of the Austrian Monarchy from the 17th century meant that these performances were most often in German. In the second half of the 18th century, puppetry performances in Czech also began to spread through Bohemia. From the middle of the 19th century, puppetry performances on home stages in so-called family theatres became widespread. An amateur movement began to grow in Bohemia at the end of the 19th century, and puppetry became an especially strong movement after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic. The majority of Czech professional puppet theatres were founded in 1949, in close connection with the introduction of the Theatre Act, which became the legislative impetus for the creation of an extensive theatre network subsidized in Czechoslovakia by the state. After 1989, the ranks of professional puppet theatres were joined by free professional associations, such as Cakes and Puppets Theatre (Buchty a loutky), Continuo, The Forman Brothers’ Theatre (Divadlo bratří Formanů), the National Marionette Theatre (Národní divadlo marionet), and Líšeň Theatre, and these companies won a positive response for their work from audiences and critics at home in the Czech Republic and abroad.