Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Plzen | Czech Republic

The professional puppet theatre in Plzen was founded again as late as 1966.

The city of Plzen has a long and a famous puppeteering tradition represented especially by LOUTKOVÉ DIVADLO FERIÁLNÍCH OSAD / The United Summer Camps Puppet Theatre / and by the names of Karel Novák, the folk puppeteer , “father” of the world-famous puppets of Spejbl and Hurvínek, Professor Josef Skupa and Jirí Trnka – his pupil and later on the author of various puppet films famous all over the world . In the years 1930 – 1943 Plzen was the base of the first professional puppet theatre in the Czech Republic – PLZENSKÉ LOUTKOVÉ DIVADLO PROF. J.SKUPY / Plzen Puppet Theatre of Prof. j. Skupa/ ( it moved to Prague after World War II ).

The professional puppet theatre in Plzen was founded again as late as 1966, so just 40 years ago, as DIVADLO DETÍ /The Children´s Theatre/. Its domicile was in the historical Alfa building in Americká Street and its first manager was L.Dvorák. In 1992 it was transferred to a new and modern building in 7 Rokycanská Street and at the same time it was renamed as the ALFA Theatre. In the 70´s and 80´s the renowned stage directors and repertory advisers (J.St?eda, J.Krofta, K.Brožek, K.Makonj, P.Vašícek and others) and stage designers (P.Matásek, A Tománek, I.Nesveda, I.Marecková and others) co-operated with it. Stage music was composed mainly by the “local” M.Pokorný (in 1990-97 also the ALFA manager ).

A series of shows related with the name of the actor and musician V. Cada and his stage partners B.Josephová-Lunáková and M.Cechová-Nuslová gained a great reputation at that time as well.

From1998 the ALFA managing director was J.Koptík, the composer. Since September 1, 2006 his successor in the post of the director has been Tomáš Froyda. The present artistic team (art manager and stage director T.Dvorák, dramaturgist P.Vašícek, art designer I.Nesveda), together with the external co-workers and a 15-member ensemble of actors prefers the comedy concept of stage work, in which a puppet is still taken for a dominant and an extraordinarily attractive stage phenomenon. The theatre shows address a large variety of audiences ranging from pre-schoolers to the youth and adults. They offer an alternative to prevailing medial culture – literary and art design quality, original stage set means (various puppeteering techniques in combination with actors), synthetic form on the stage, where music always plays an important role (often live music) and especially irreplaceable emotional contact with live art in a really cultural environment. The Alfa repertory includes a variety of genres and themes – from classical and modern fairy tales to classical world-famous comedies (F. García Lorca, J. N. Nestroy, D.Fo) or poetry (J. Prévert).

Most successful plays of tn years 1999 –2009 are T. Dvorák´s the play Jéminkote, Psohlavci (Good Golly, It´s the Czech Frontiersmen) in 1999/2000 it was declared “the Play of the Year 1999” and Dvorák´s play Tri mušketýri ( The Three Musketeers) . Both plays were successfully presented in many festivals (not only puppet ones) both at home and abroad. It was also shown at the Czech TV. The Three Musketeers were presented at 26th year of the SKUPOVA PLZE? Festival, at the Festival of the Theatres of European Regions in Hradec Králové, at the festival in Bánská Bystrica, Slovakia and at the DIVADLO ´06 Festival in Pilsen in September and at the Prague Festival One Flew Over The Puppeteer´s Nest.

In recent years the number of tours abroad has significantly increased. The Theatre has visited Slovakia, the Ukraine, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, France, Germany, Poland , Serbia, Croatia, Spain, USA and Japan (most of the countries even several times). Last year the Alfa Theatre organised several exhibitions of puppets from its archives: in Limoges and in Lyon (France), in Kallmünz (Germany), in Železná Ruda, in Takasaki (Japan), in Stod and in Passau (Germany).

Since 1967 the Alfa Theatre has been the organiser of the Skupa´s Pilsen Festival, the biannual contest of the Czech professional puppet theatres. Next year of 28th Skupa´s Pilsen is going to be held in June 2010.

go to Divadlo Alfa


Divadlo Alfa - stage
Divadlo Alfa - studio stage



Artistic Director
Tomáš Froyda

Visual Artists
Marie Cerníková

Art Education
Roman Cerník

Blanka Josephová-Lunaková