About the theatre Print E-mail

The Bialystok Puppet Theatre (BTL-Bia這stocki Teatr Lalek) has been active since 1953, when group of puppeteers, led by Piotr Sawicki, was granted a state subsidy. From then on the theatre – being a professional stage – has been in operation continuously, producting 3 to 5 new performances every theatre season, using the various puppet techniques (rod-puppets, glove puppets, string puppets and non-conventional forms), different forms of visual theatre, object theatre, mask theatre, drama theatre.

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The theatre was directed by the following renowned artists of Polish puppet theatre: Piotr Sawicki, Joanna Piekarska, Krzysztof Rau, Wojciech Kobrzy雟ki, Wojciech Szelachowski and Marek Waszkiel – a puppet theatre historian and a theatre critic; since September 2012 – by PhD Jacek Malinowski – theatre director and university teacher.

BTL cooperated with many outstanding artists whose shows produced in Bialystok left a distinctive stamp on the whole of Polish puppetry art. Jan Wilkowski and Adam Kilian produced here their famous shows: Dekameron 8.5 (Decameron 8.5) and Zielona g窷 (The Green Goose); a distinguished contemporary artist of Polish theatre Piotr Tomaszuk was connected with BTL since his debut in the 80's and produced here several unforgettable shows: Polowanie na lisa (Fox hunting) by S豉womir Mrozek or Turlajgroszek, and recently Lis (The Fox) by a young puppet playwriter Marta Gu郾iowska. Also other renowned polish artists, among them today`s most extinguished playwrite Tadeusz S這bodzianek used to be affiliated with BTL.

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Bia這stocki Teatr Lalek is one of the oldest Polish puppet stages to propose a puppetry repertoire for adults and which, as of 1972, regularly includes on its playbill works by the world`s grand literary authors: Boccaccio, Calderon, Rostand, Gogol, Bernhard, R騜ewicz, Szukszyn, Mro瞠k or Ga販zy雟ki. It is also the first Polish puppet theatre to have its premises especially constructed for its purpose, as in 1979, at the expense of the city, an especially designed building was erected. It contains three stages: the grand stage (200 seats), the small stage (100 seats), and rehearsal stage (40 seats). Over the past 30 years, the Theatre has also organized many national and international puppetry festivals, in particular the festival od solo puppeteers and the national meetings of puppet theatres.

In 1974 Bia這stocki Teatr Lalek called to life an actor`s studio which was a year later transformed into the Puppetry Art Department of the Warsaw Theatre Academy. Nearly all the actors of the Theatre are graduates of this school. They are also the core members of staff teaching young puppeteers at the Bialystok Department of Warsaw Academy.

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Today`s BTL specialises in:

  • Shows for children –stage adaptations of well-known fables and popular literature for children, especially contemporary works written for puppet conventions;
  • Shows for adults – continuous activity in the field is an absolutely unique phenomenon. Most of the productions are done with the cooperation of foreign artists. In recent years these were, among others: Marian Pecko (Slovakia), Duda Paiva (Holland), Alan Lecucq (France), Andreas Veres (Hungary), Julija Skuratova (Lithuania), Frank Soehnle (Germany) or Chistoph Bochdansky (Austria);
  • Experimental and thinking man`s shows – projects carried out on the studio stage in cooperation with the youngest generation of puppeteers affiliated with The Theatre Academy in Bialystok.

Bia這stocki Teatr Lalek is open to international cooperation, theatre traineeships for young artists, studio projects and workshop meetings. The project Polish-Norwegian Puppets 2010
Which is now being carried out is the results of such international cooperation. Every year BTL takes part in dozen or so festivals in Poland and abroad.

What is more BTL engages in a wide-scale educational activity, including workshops for children, theatre lessons for primary school students, open public readings of puppet theatre plays for children, an also publishing (every year the theatre publishes collections of plays for puppet theatre), exhibitions (the BTL Galery, open at the theatre, every month puts on a new exhibition of fine artists connected with theatre activity). The premises of the theatre house an unusual Puppet`s Cellar which holds a collection of puppets, masks, costumes, elements of stage scenes, comprising a few dozen years of BTL`s activity. The cellar is a kind of labyrinth, where one can get lost amidst the magic of puppet theatre.