Jakub Vašíček received the Award for the Best Director at the International Festival of Children’s Theatres

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This year’s 19th edition of the International Festival of Children’s Theatres Banja Luka 2020 in Bosna and Herzegovina was exceptional. Due to the global pandemic, the organizers had to do without the in-person participation of invited international theatre companies at the venue. However, they decided not to cancel the festival and provided the viewers with video recordings of invited productions. The festival eventually hosted twelve productions from eight countries.

The Drak Theatre streamed the new slapstick comedy with hand puppets The Sleeping Beauty and the festival jury rewarded director Jakub Vašíček with the award for the best director.

According to the jury, “the complex style of directing connects the production parts, creatively leads the puppeteers, and clearly describes the topic of the production”.

Speaking of Czech authors, Jakub Maksimov received the special award for directing and adaptation of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and On Wolf’s Trail performed by Pozorišta mladih iz Novog Sada.

The production The Sleeping Beauty is designed for children of 6 years of age or older and premiered on 5 December 2020 at the Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové. The original production is based on one of the folk tales that was transformed from the oral version to literature. The authors Jakub Vašíček and Tomáš Jarkovský stage the famous lyrical story of a royal daughter who is inescapably afflicted by a symbolic curse as a “steampunk hand-puppet slapstick comedy”. The western-like story about a girl’s coming-of-age and her desire to fulfill her destiny is as contemporary as possible despite anxious and overprotective parents who refuse to let their daughter grow mature.

Kamil Bělohlávek’s symbol-based stage design and Daniel Čámský’s music only complement the whole concept of the production. The focal point of the stage is the multifunctional construction of the castle tower. It is both a comfy home and an unconquerable fortress that protects Růženka from outer pitfalls, and her prison. Tereza Vašíčková’s puppets and costumes correspond with Bělohlávek’s stage design and underpin the steampunk atmosphere of the production. The slapstick comedy performed by the hand puppets highlights the detailed and precise puppeteer work of the experienced Theatre Drak members Pavla Lustyková, Jan Popela, and Milan Žďárský, accompanied by Petr Seiner, Pavel Černík and Jan Čipčala.

The Banja Luka 2020 festival was one of few opportunities for the Drak Theatre to present the production internationally. In 2020 the Drak Theatre has received a few interesting invitations to European and world festivals. Yet due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all of them have been canceled or postponed. The Drak Theatre, along with the Naïve Theatre Liberec and Alfa Theatre from Pilsen, was invited to the ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival in July that took place as part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic. The invitation of Faust to the Puppet Festival in Chicago as well as the one-month tour of Log Leg in China has been canceled. The festivals in Bielsko-Białe in Poland and Mukamas in Finland, where the Drak Theatre is a regular guest, have been canceled too.