Who we are?

piero

All the adults “obey” the art of the puppets
State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora has a historically distinctive policy and aesthetic taste. It was established in 1957. At that time, a few young people with different professions (Kosta Valkov, Denka Dimova, Lidia Aleksandrova, Marin Pavlov, Katya Zagorova, Dobrina Bunardzhieva and Dobrina Vasileva) gathered together to start new creative work even if it was risky for their careers to do so without any special academic education, having only natural affinity for such type of art and cultural idealism. With hard work and persistence they managed to acquire puppet’s specific language and started to use it confidently. Founder and first manager of the Theatre was Petar Dobchev. He was also the first director whose first performance was titled „The Bear Tourist”. It was a time of enthusiasm, naivety and Illusory- realistic theater.

The company became part of the State’s structure on January 1, 1962. The actors - Mariana Hristova, Aleksander Temelkov, Georgi Monev, Zdravko Kalpakchiev – Ziko, Anastasiya Lukanova, Zdravka Mihaylova joined the team. Mariya Yankova (the former manager) has a special contribution to the development of State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora. From 1957 to 1965, Petar Dobchev was a manager of the company and from 1965 to 1968 Lidiya Ventsislavova performed these functions.

The Bulgarian National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA) has launched a Department for Puppet Theatre Art and its first graduate – Mrs. Antoaneta Botusharova has started work in Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora. The same thing did Mr. Veselin Nedelchev - a scenographer who deserved to be called “the Bulgarian Papa Carlo”.

Right after the pioneers, the reformers and innovators came into the company. Faith brought together Vasil Apostolov and Lyubomir Tsakev and created a long-standing creative tandem. Apostolov and Tsakev joined the Theatre in 1968. From 1968 to 1982 Vasil Apostolov worked as a manager and director of the company. He’s the one who actually did transform State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora into a professional theatre company. At the place of the former community center he built a modern theatre building with a contemporary stage, a hall, sound and light equipment, a pastry shop, a big singing clock with mounted puppets on it and placed the dancing Pierrot (made by another talented sculptor – Mr. Emil Ivanov) in front of the lobby. After the withdrawal of Mr. Apostolov in 1982, Lyubomir Tsakev became manager of the company. He retired in 1996 due to an illness and his place has been taken for two years by Mr. Emil Ivanov.

Since 1998, manager of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora is Mr. Darin Petkov. In our days the company has a pretty young team. The repertoire is full with performances both for children and adults. The company has a leading position and exceptional national and international recognition.

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora is a repertoire theatre at state financing. More than 300 performances for children and adults by Bulgarian and foreign authors have been staged here.
The company has at its disposal a separate building, two stages /the main one and an open-air stage/ and ateliers, which enables the effective planning of the activities. With our artistic and financial results, we are one of the leaders in our field.

All the participations and numerous awards from international and national puppetry events prove the high level and professional capacity of our team:
The year of 1998 – 1st prize bestowed by The Union of the Bulgarian Actors for the technical realization of the play “The Little Elf”, directed by Slavcho Malenov;
The year of 1999 - Best dramaturgy, best set design, best music and best acting awards for the play “Wilm the Long Nose”, directed by Ivan Raykov at the International Puppet Theatre Festival “The Golden Dolphin” in Varna, Bulgaria;
The year of 1999 - The Award for “Outstanding achievements in the culture field” bestowed by “Open Society - Stara Zagora”;
The year of 2000 - the best acting award for the play “Wilm the Long Nose”, directed by Ivan Raykov at the International Puppet Theatre Festival “Prague – The European Capital of Culture 2000”;
The year of 2000 - Presenting the play “Wilm the Long Nose”, directed by Ivan Raykov at the International Puppet Festivals in Tolosa and Alicante – Spain;
The year of 2000 - The Award for “Outstanding achievements in the culture field” bestowed by “Open Society - Stara Zagora” for the initiation and implementation of the 1st edition of International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival “PIERROT” 2000;
The year of 2001 - Presenting the play “The Little Elf”, directed by Slavcho Malenov at the World Festival of Puppet Theatre Art – Prague;
The year of 2001 - The award for “Experimental and new forms” for the play “Shadows in the night”, directed by Biserka Kolevska at the ІІ International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival “PIERROT” 2001;
The year of 2002 - Presenting the play “Shadows in the night”, directed by Biserka Kolevska at the International Festival for Puppet Theatre Art in Istanbul;
The year of 2003 - Presenting the play “Snow-white and the seven dwarfs”, directed by Ivan Raykov at the “Puppeteers of America” festival in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, USA. State Puppet Theatre becomes member of the Union of the Puppeteers of America;
The year of 2004 - The Special Prize for puppet theatre art at the International Children Theatre Festival in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina bestowed for the play “Stories from the long gone past”, directed by Petar Pashov;
The year of 2005 - Presenting the play “Snow-white and the seven dwarfs”, directed by Ivan Raykov at the Summer Festival takin place in the Centre for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, also in Boston and at the Puppeteers of America” festival in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA;
The year of 2005 - The “Stara Zagora” Award for outstanding achievements in the culture field bestowed for the realization of the play “Insomnia”, directed by Zheni Pashova and Petar Pashov;
The year of 2005 - The Best direction Award at the “Michael Lakatnik” National Festival in Yambol, Bulgaria for the play “Stories from the long gone past”, directed by Petar Pashov;
The year of 2005 - The Award for a “Perspective young troupe” at the ІV International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival “PIERROT” 2005 for the play “Insomnia”, directed by Zheni Pashova and Petar Pashov;
The year of 2006 - Participation of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora at the First Balkan Arts Market for Staging Arts in Thessaloniki, Greece;
The year of 2006 - Presenting the play “Insomnia”, directed by Zheni Pashova and Petar Pashov at the ХХVІ Festival for Puppet Art in Pilsen, Czech Republic;
The year of 2006 – The Award for puppet theatre art at the International Festival in Kotor, Montenegro for the play “Wilm the Long Nose”, directed by Ivan Raykov;
The year of 2007 - The “Ikar” award for puppet theatre art bestowed by the The Union of the Bulgarian Actors for the play “Baron Munchausen”, directed by Slavcho Malenov;
The year of 2007 - An award bestowed by the Ministry of Culture for outstanding achievements in the field of creation and dissemination of theatrical productions;
The year of 2007 - The “Stara Zagora” award for outstanding achievements in the culture field;
The year of 2007 - The Best and original interpretation award, The Children’s jury award and The Holland jury award at the International Puppet Theatre Festival “Two are less, three are many” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for the play “Baron Munchausen”, directed by Slavcho Malenov;
The year of 2007 - The Best acting award at the V International Puppet Theatre Festival for Adults “PIERROT” 2007 bestowed for the play “The King Stag”, directed by Petar Pashov;
The year of 2008 – 3rd award bestowed by the Holland jury at the 17th International Puppet Theatre Festival “Two are less, three are many” for the play “The King Frog”, directed by Darin Petkov;
The year of 2008 – Presenting the play “Beauty and the Beast”, directed by Petar Pashov at the ХХІІІ International Festival for Puppet Theatre Art in Bialsko Bjala, Poland;
The year of 2008 – The best acting award and the Best dramaturgy award for the play “Baron Munchausen”, directed by Slavcho Malenov at the International Puppet Theatre Festival “The Golden Dolphin” in Varna, Bulgaria;
The year of 2008 – Presenting the play “Baron Munchausen”, directed by – Slavcho Malenov at the 3rd International Puppet Theatre Festival “Tea drinking in Mytishchi”, Moscow;
The year of 2008 – Presenting the play “Beauty and the Beast”, directed by Petar Pashov at the “Puppet fair” Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria;
The year of 2009 – The Best direction award bestowed to Slavcho Malenov, the best acting award bestowed to Delyan Kyosev and 2nd award of the Holland jury bestowed for the play “The Little Wood Nymph” at the 18th International Puppet Theatre Festival “Two are less, three are many” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
The year of 2009 – The Best actor award bestowed to Delyan Kyosev for his part as the little boy in “The Brave tin Soldier” play at the VІ International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival “PIERROT” 2009 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria;
The year of 2010 - The “Stara Zagora” Award for outstanding achievements in the culture field bestowed for the realization of the play “Oedipus. The feast of blindness”;
The year of 2010 – The co-production “Oedipus. The feast of blindness” of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora, State Puppet Theatre – Plovdiv and State Puppet Theatre – Burgas won the best acting award at the 9th „Stobi” International Festival for Antique and Drama Theatre in Veles, Macedonia;
The year of 2011 – The SIVINA award bestowed by the Directors' association of "UNIMA", Bulgaria to Kaloyan Georgiev as the best young puppeteer for his part in the play “Commedia almost Dell’ Arte” play produced by State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora;
The year of 2012 – The SIVINA award bestowed by the Directors' association of "UNIMA", Bulgaria to Vanya Viktorovna Kamyanska as the best young puppeteer for her part in the play „The Little Wood Nymph” directed by Slavcho Malenov and produced by State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora;
The year of 2012 – Participation in the 18th BÁBKARSKÁ BYSTRICA International Puppet Theatre Festival in Banska Bistrica, Slovakia;
The year of 2012 – Participation in the “Puppet fair” International Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria;
The year of 2013 – Nomination for the SIVINA award bestowed by the Directors' association of "UNIMA", Bulgaria to Kiril Antonov as the best young puppeteer for his part in the play „Beauty and the Beast”, directed by Iroslav Petkov and produced by State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora;
The year of 2013 – Best staging award bestowed to Simona Nanova at the 14th International Children Theatre Festival “Magic story” for the play “The never born maiden” produced by State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and „ARTE VIVA” foundation;
The year of 2013 – Participation in the International Theatre Kingfestival in Velikiy Novgorod, Russia with the play “Cinderella” directed by Elza Laleva;
The year of 2014 – An award for preserving the traditions of the national folklore tales bestowed at the XXI International Puppet Theatre Festival “Two are less, three are many” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for the play “The never born maiden” directed by Hristina Arsenova;
The year of 2014 – The “Stara Zagora” Award for high creative achievements in the cultural life of the city;
The year of 2015 – The "Lyubimets 13" best puppet acting award bestowed to State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora for the plays "Fear", "Folklore magic" and "The Wizard of Oz";
The year of 2015 – The IKAR award for best puppet performance bestowed for the play "Fear" of Ina Bozhidarova and Veselka Kuncheva;
The year of 2015 – The IKAR award for masterful technical implementation of the play "Fear" written by Ina Bozhidarova and Veselka Kuncheva;
The year of 2015 – The IKAR award for best original music written by Hristo Namliev in the play "Fear" of Ina Bozhidarova and Vesleka Kuncheva;
The year of 2015 – GRAND PRIX Award and the Golden Anima Award for the play “The Wizard of Oz” at the 16th International Festival of professional puppet theatre for children “LUT FEST” 2015 in East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The year of 2015 – The “Stara Zagora” Award for high artistic achievements in the cultural life of the city

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora hosts the International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival “PIERROT”.
Festival’s program combines puppet theatre performances for adults, workshop, theoretical seminars in art management, as well as cartoon movies projection, presentation of the guest companies’ production in the region, exhibition of paintings, cartoons and plastics.

Detailed information about “PIERROT” festival has been published in the “THEATRE” magazine (Issue 10-12, 2005 and Issue 1-2, 2006) under the American journal for puppetry art, as well as in the German and Holland press. The Bulgarian National TV has created and broadcasted two 30-minutes movies, dedicated to the festival.
“PIERROT” has found also a well-deserved place in the pages of “Kuklart” – a magazine specialized in puppetry arts. During PIERROT 2009, The USA Masque Theatre-Bethlehem Company has been accompanied by Ed Wierzbicki (operator from USA and producer at Spotlight on the Arts). He has made a movie about PIERROT and Bulgaria and it was broadcasted in America.

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora hosts every year International Art Laboratory. It’s meant for young directors, actors, stage designers, play-writers and other creators who want to improve and enlarge their creative instruments in the field of puppet theatre art for adults.
State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora creates opportunities for actors and directors to continue their education. The basic aim during the Lab is to explore the creative process without focusing on the final result. In that way participants’ have freedom to use their imagination and potential to enhances their own professional capacity.