The international puppetry organization UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) was the first international theatrical body to be established in Prague, in 1929. Czechoslovakia played an important role not only at this initial stage, but also after the organization’s revival in 1957. Puppetry, as a significant theatrical form and means of reinforcing artistic and humanist values, was at the centre of not only puppeteers, but also artists, writers and theatre people throughout the 20th Century, and UNIMA was instrumental in popularizing this theatrical art. UNIMA supported the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and later became an allied organization of UNESCO. In the politically divided world of the second half of the 20th Century, it was one of the international theatrical NGOs that supported and facilitated international cultural relations not only in the area of puppetry, but also culture as a whole.
To mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of UNIMA, an international conference The Role of UNIMA in the Recognition, Development and Importance of Puppetry in the 20th Century and its Visions for the 21st Century will be held on 7 June 2019. The programme UNIMA celebrates 90 years will take place during the oldest and biggest regular world exhibition of scenography and stage architecture, the Prague Quadrennial, and will include a discussion block on the theme of exhibiting puppets, titled Hanging Out (Puppets on Show), as part of the PQ Talks on 6 June 2019. Other events include the opening of the exhibition UNI…What? UNIMA! 100 Countries, 90 Years, 1 Passion, mounted by the Chrudim Puppetry Museum and UNIMA Soirée in the Empire of Puppets theatre, same venue where UNIMA was established 90 years ago. Foreign guests will also have an opportunity to attend a lecture about contemporary puppet theatre and visit puppet and theatre performances within the programme of PQ+ and in Alfa Theatre in Pilsen.
The UNIMA celebrates 90 years event is organized by the Czech UNIMA Centre, the Arts and Theatre Institute and the Chrudim Puppetry Museum.
The partners of the event are the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, the City of Prague, the National Museum, the Empire of Puppets Theatre, The Academy for Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Centres, The National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture (NIPOS).
The event is convened under the auspices of the Czech Commission for UNESCO.