Marionette Carving + Manipulation + Performance
7-min documentary on our Carving + Manipulation + Performance Workshop.
Description of workshop
This month-long workshop has an equal focus on CARVING a WIRE MARIONETTE and a PERFORMING at one of Prague's most popular summer festivals- the the Letni Letna New Circus and Theatre Festival. Students experience the whole process of making the puppet: design, technical drawings, woodcarving, painting, stringing, costume, controller plus how to manipulate marionettes. They will create an original show with a professional puppet director. This workshop requires students to be in good physical condition, so they can perform outdoors at festivals several times a day in the summer heat.
The daily schedule is intensive: students work from 9,30 - 5,30 p.m. with interactive lectures and practical work. In the evenings students attend puppet theatre performances and see the best of animated Czech puppet films. We will have 6 days of performances, including performance outside of Prague and performances at the Letni Letna and our own Teatrotoc festival.
Who is the course designed for?
This workshop requires students, who are in good physical condition and able to perform at outdoors at festivals several times a day in the summer heat. Students will be selected on the basis of their experience, and all applicants should send photos of their work with the application. It is appropriate for students from a variety of backgrounds: visual artists, who want the chance to also perform, performers who want the chance to create a puppet, students, teachers.... There will be maximum 12 students.
29,000 Czech Crowns (approx 1000 Euro, $1400 USD). For actual exchange rate see here.
Price includes all materials, local transportation costs (month long transportation pass), tickets to performances. To confirm place in the workshop, applicants must send a deposit (details will be sent upon acceptance).
Accommodations with shared bathroom facilities can be arranged for participants in Pension Jana, a comfortable, clean hostel located in a residential area a five minute walk from the workshop. The price is about 400 Czech crowns (approx. 15 Euro/18 USD per night) for a double room, 600 Czech crowns (approx. 24 Euro/ 28 USD) for a single room (includes breakfast), or 380 Cz crowns for a triple room. For more informaton, go to the Pension Jana web site: www.dhotels.cz.
If participants prefer other accommodation, we can provide contacts to booking agencies in Prague.
Participants can cook meals in a small kitchen in the workshop or eat in local Czech restaurants (approx. 5 Euro for lunch).
Location of Workshop
The workshop of Miroslav Trejtnar, located ten minutes from the historical center of Prague in the Vrsovice neighborhood, on Holandska Street. See map and Street View
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The workshop is taught in English.
Leader of workshop.
Miroslav Trejtnar graduated with high honours from the puppet design department of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He has trained with Institut UNIMA in Charleville - Mezieres in France. In 1989 he started the KID Company, designing and producing wooden puppets, toys and sculpture.
Mirek's art has been exhibited around the world, including at several UNIMA festivals. He has designed puppets for numerous productions, including "The Baroque Opera" by the Forman Brothers. He has also produced puppets for the Jiri Trnka animated film studio in Prague.
Mirek has taught hundreds of students at Puppets in Prague workshops. He has also taught for the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, St. Martin’s College of Design in London, New York University in Prague, Chapito Circus Academy in Lisbon, Portugal, and in Macao and Hong Kong.
Carving and technology.
Zdar worked for the Jirí Trnka animated film studio at Barrandov studio in Prague for 20 years, and is now a freelance designer of puppets for film animation and theatre, as well as a graphic and furniture designer. He is one of Prague's leading experts in the technological design of puppets for animated films.
Vaclav is profesional puppet maker based in Prague. He has made puppets for numerous internationally known puppet companies and puppeteers. He now works as a freelance puppet maker and he has taught for many workshops with us.
Ondrej is puppet designer. He has worked on many theatre productions for numerous internationally known puppet companies and puppeteers as Forman brothers.
Robert is puppet woodcarver. He is now producing many beautiful puppets for shops and exhibitions.
Sota is a Japanese puppet maker based in Prague. He studied texitle at the Tokyo Art and Design University and puppet design at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He now works as a freelance puppet designer, and he has taught mask workshops at the Prague Quadrenniale. Sota also is a butoh perfomer.
Marcela is a professional puppet costume designer. She makes costumes and puppets for both Czech and international known puppet companies and puppeteers, as well as making textile puppets for television.
Dana currently studies the restoration of historical textiles. She has assisted on costume design for PIP puppet workshops form many years.
Svetlana is professional painter inspired by mexican art with many of her work published and exhibited.
Šarka is professional ilustrator, painter and puppet designer . She worked on big number of animated films as designer.
Leah Gaffen is an Ameican who has lived in the Czech Republic since 1993. She founded the Puppets in Prague workshops with Mirek Trejtnar. She has also done production and translating work for the Prague Theatre Academy and numerous theatre education projects.
At the beginning of the course, a professional puppeteer helps students become familiar with different types and sizes of marionettes. Our goal is for students to understand basic operations of a marionette, as this helps them when they are designing their own puppet.
After the puppet manipulation lesson, students create technical drawings based on their own designs. Over the next few days, their drawings transform into square blocks with many holes and cuts. This is their future puppet. This first stage of the process includes much drilling and cutting. This is all done under the guidance of professional cutters and drillers!
With the help of the bandsaw, the first concrete shapes of heads, hands and bodies emerge. If they want to, students can learn to cut wood on the machine. During this stage of work, students learn the basics about machines in a puppet workshop and how to use them safely.
After the parts of the puppets are cut on the bandsaw, students start carving. During this stage, students learn about types of wood that are used for carving, about chisels, how to sharpen chisels and how to carve safely.
Student work on their own marionette during the workshop. At the same time they can watch how other students in the group are making marionettes with slightly different technical aspects. They can see different ways of making joints, connecting heads to bodies and different ways of connecting hands and legs to bodies.
Slowly the rough cubes turn into specific parts of the puppet. During carving, different parts are connected to make sure that the joints are cut so they can move well.
After checking the movement of the puppet, it is necessary to take it apart again for painting. This is the climactic part of the process - after painting, it is possible to put the puppet together again and see it come to life.
Before hanging the puppet on a controller, students can make a costume. Professional costume designers talk about how to make different parts of the puppet costumes and how to choose appropriate material.
One of the final parts of the process is creating the controller. A favorite part of the workshop is work on the lathe, where a rough piece of wood is transformed into an elegant handle. After finishing the controler the puppet is ready to be hung on strings.
A special lesson on stringing puppets teaches students how to find the right place on the puppet body to put the strings. Then they check the puppet's movement, making sure it can walk well and make other basic movements.
The second part of the worskhop is focused on manipulation with newlz made puppets and on creating a show. Students will create a short original performance with story based on classical fairytales. Students will buid up new version of story with professional director. Students will work with teem of teachers, which will teach them creating of story, manipulation of puppets in show and help the students put the piece together.
On the last 5 days of the workshop, students will perform for hundreds of people at the Festival Letni Letna and Vysehratky Festival. There will be many other performers at the festival from the Czech Republic and abroad... an exciting chance to get inspiration and make friends!
The workshop also includes lessons about puppet history and visits to theatre performances and exhibitions.