Skupova Plzeň festival handed out prizes, four were won by the Minor Theater in Prague

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The Prague Minor Theater won four prizes for the production Brothers of Hope (“Bratři naděje”) at the Skupova Plzeň International Puppet and Alternative Theater Festival. The local Alfa Theater and the Bratislava Puppet Theater also succeeded. The expert jury was supposed to choose from 19 competition productions of Czech and Slovak professional theaters. The festival, including this year's open-air program, Puppet Slovany (“Loutkové Slovany”) prologue, and Slow Market, was attended by about 7,000 spectators.

The production Brothers of Hope of the Minor Theater won awards for acting, screenplay and directing, scenography and music. It tells the story of four brothers – puppeteers and legionaries – Antonín, Matěj, Vojta and Jindra Kopecký, who did not stop puppeteering even in WWI and their theatre spread joy in the conditions we can hardly imagine. In addition to the Prague Theater, the jurors also praised the Alfa Theater in Pilsen for the scenography of the production of The Good Hans Böhm's Journey to Europe (“Putování Dobrého Hanse Böhmy Evropou”) about how the “non-hero” Böhm from a little village in West Bohemia was forcing his way through Central Europe during the war and for the concept, text and direction of the production Everyone Has Their Truth (“Pravdu má každý svou”) – this production deals with the issue of how to find our way in the society overwhelmed by information and doubting the scientifically proven certitudes. The award was also won by the Continuo Theater from Malovice and the Bratislava Puppet Theater.

Honorable mentions went to the ensemble KHWOSHCH for the puppet-paleontological-opera debut Dinopera - a tragic puppet opera played on a small but luxurious stage of the baroque theatre and the Lampion Theater from Kladno for the production Shadow of the Fern (“Stín kapradiny”) – the performance inspired by Josef Čapek’s balladic novella about the crime and punishment that have always been linked in the social system.

The meeting of the executive committee of the International Puppeteers Union UNIMA took place at the 34th Skupova Plzeň on 7-9 June. Twelve representatives from all around the world (the USA, German, Croatia, Hungary, Canada, Argentina, Iran, Slovenia, Belgium, France and the Czech Republic) with the UNIMA president Karen Smith and the secretary-general Dimitri Jageneau held talks in the renaissance spaces of the municipality in Plzeň. It is truly interesting that the meeting of the UNIMA executive in the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia last took place in June 1989 on the occasion of its foundation in 1929 in Prague.