Saturday, May 25, 2019

 

08.12.1951

Article from the "Narodne novine" journal, 8.12.1951. pg.8

 

Puppet Theatre in Nis has existed as a professional and cultural institution for 58 years. The theatre has worked hard and patient to master the secrets of the profession and conquer the art of puppetry which had only traces of tradition, not just in this city. Befor June 23rd 1958. when by the Resolution of the Public Board of the Nis Municipality the theatre received a professional status with puppet and live scene, we should remember the year 1951. when the play “Drug za druga”, by Bozana Begovic, directed by Vera Amar initiated the beginning of the marionette scetion of the Pioneer Center “Stanko Paunovic”. It was a self-taught beginning. Actors were enthusiasts, mostly amateurs. They were playing in poor conditions, in a small ground floor and cramped hall in the Fort, later adapted for the artists' studio. Seven years of work, 28 premiere plays, hundreds of second showings in front of thousands of children, their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers. Art of puppetry gained its followers, took the hearts of its viewers and led the to the magic world of fantasy, fairy tale images, poetry, and deep, dreamy, wonderful, quiet inner experience.

Zecija skola
Zečija škola

After seven years of endurance in this business, gaining knowledge and experience, along with the generous support of the audience and the media, on June 23rd 1958. a historic Resolution has adopted, transforming the theatre into a professional insitution – Children Theatre which was under the leadership of Jordan Paunovic, music teacher. Professional actors performed the first professional plays in bigger and more appropriate hall of teh Youth Center “Josip Kolumbo” in Stanoja Bunusevca street. The first professional puppet play “Zeleni petlic” written by Marija Kulundzic, directed by Ivan Snauc was performed in Nis on October 5th 1958. The premiere on the so called live scene was performed in the hall of Craftsmen Center, which later became movie theatre “Cegar”. Citizens of Nis saw “Cipolinove avanture” written by Djani Radari, directed by Dusan Rodic on january 27th 1959. Children's Theatre started its activities and performance as well. More professional directors, scenographers, costume designers, music and other assistants became interested in puppet-stage art. Theatre participated in the first Meeting of Professional Puppet Theatres of Serbia, which was held in Zrenjanin in 1962. with the play “So vrednija od zlata” written by Bedrich Savaton, directed by Jordan Paunovic. Two years later (1964) Theatre was the host to Serbian puppet artists in Nis in the new afficies in the center of the city in Karadziceva street. The former building of the enterprise “Elektromehanika” was adapted for the needs of the Puppet Theatre by means of four milion RSD (of that time) and voluntary work of all employees. For the first time, the theatre received its own hall with 150 seats, a stage, outstanding light equipment, small rotation, etc.

 Working conditions were relatively satisfying, but only at the beginning of the new working period. Excellent plays, such as “Mali dimnicar”, “Veliki carobnjak”, “Guliver u zemlji patuljaka”, “Ginjol u nevolji”, “Cira III”, “Generalska opera”, “Loptica skocica”, “Kapetan Dzon Piplfoks”, “Peca i vuk”, “Karneval zivotinja”, “Krilata krava”, Dozivljaji macka Tose”, “Zecija skola”, Babaroga”, “Prica o tik-taku” were on the repertoire of the theatre. That was also the time when the theatre started performing abroad, received many awards from meetings and festivals. Acting mostly with marionettes, actors' ensemble improves the skills of animation and expression, completely adjusting them to the demands of the puppetry art and children's affinities. Well known writers, directors, painters, puppet makers, composers from belgrade and other cities in the country, as well as the guest associates from abroad, mostly from Sofia (Bulgaria), were engaged.

When the theatre moved to a new building in Radnicki savet Square (on October 14th 1977. date of the Liberation of Nis Day), it had outstanding working conditions which resulted in enhancements on all levels of artistic expression. Various puppet techniques were applied: marionette, hand puppets, black theatre, shadow theatre, etc. Modern plays were introduced and they implied combination of puppets and actors on the stage, even the completely live plays as a form appropriate for older children's auditorium. High-quality group of actors and animators performed all these difficult tasks. As time went by, the acting ensemble was not enough. During the 1980s young artists joined the troupe. A combination of experience and youth were visible on the scene, and the outcome was – unforgivable performances. New working conditions resulted in reprenstative plays: „Bela bajka“, „Labudovo jezero“,  „ Tri praseta“, „Mala Nusicijada“, „Meda Rim-Cim-Ci“, „Mudri Ciga“, „U lazi su kratke noge“, „ Braca Grim“, „Vini Pu“, „Cirkus“, „Carobni klavir“, „Patkica Zutkica“, „Kir Janja“, „Djilja Petre“, „Lepotica i zver“, „Plava ptica“, „Olovka pise srcem“, „Lutkarska Biblija“, „Zdralovo perje“, „Betmen i lutkar“, „Tri praseta“ (again), „Velimir i Bosiljka“. Then again „Lepotica i zver“, „Carobnjak iz Oza“, „Senke u noci“, „Car zabac“, „Carev zatocnik“, „Sveti Sava“, „Mocart“, „Biberce“, „Mala princeza“, etc. Thatre was on tour in the country and abroad, performed on festivals, and received various awards, both in the craft and social fields. In January 2007. theatre received the highest award of the City „January 11th“ Award for exceptional achievements throughout 2006. An outstanding period of performance was crowned with the most important award of the city of Nis. In the meantime (2008) new, young and talented generation of educated puppet actos joined the theatre. Six actors graduated from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Art (Sofia, Bulagaria).

Months, years, decades of professional performance. Premiere plays and second showings. From 1951. to now, Puppet Theatre have performed 253 premiere shows, participated in 167  festivals, both in the country and abroad, and won 168 awards and 18 special prizes.

The title of the book „The Wizards of Nis“, has simbolic of its own. Still, they are not Baum's Wizards of Oz, but the wizards of Nis, city with rich and admirable puppetry tradition.


Bela bajka 1978

 

From the book „The Wizard of Nis“, by Slobodan Krstic

 

The openning of the new building, 1974.

 
 
 

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