Puppet Theater Mostar was founded in 1952.
Its seat, both then as well as today, is in the former Jewish synagogue located in Mostar’s neighbourhood called Brankovac. The property was given to the Puppet Theater by the Jewish municipality in the early fifties of the last century, under the strict condition that it should be used only for that purpose.
Throughout the years, the Puppet Theater has become a true temple of puppetry and the finest representative of the cultural scene of this city. It is a proud recipient of numerous appraisals, awards and recognitions at international and domestic festivals; its performances have so far been seen by over two million viewers.
The performances were played on stages in Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Iran, Norway, Sweden, and, of course, in all countries formed by the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
The founder, the first director and theater director was Đorđe Đoka Bovan, the true legend of the development of puppet art in Mostar. After him, Antony Anto Karačić should be singled out – he was the first who began to cooperate with the greatest puppetry names from the then state of Czechoslovakia. The legacy was continued by directors Jovo Spajić, Milivoje Mrkić and Mirzo Pelić. Immediately after the last war, the director was Nuri-Džihan Kezman, who was succeeded by Muhamed Nametak from 1995 to 2000. In the period from 2000 to 2017, the director was Ranka Mutevelić, who established cooperation with the most prominent puppet creators from Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia and Belarus. Since the beginning of 2017, the director of the Puppet Theater in Mostar is Edin Kmetaš.
During the war of 1992-1995 in which Mostar, unfortunately, gained the reputation of the most devastated city of the former Yugoslavia, the building of the Puppet Theater was demolished and the actors were forced to flee and disperse themselves across the world. Some of them sought shelter in other theatres. Nevertheless, thanks to the help of the European Union, the Theater building was restored. We needed to start again from the very beginning, with a new ensemble for a new audience of children who deserved to replace the sounds of grenades with enjoyment in puppet shows.
Cooperation with directors and puppet experts such as Slavcho Malenov, Todor Valov, Wojciech Wieczorkiewicz, Robert Waltl, Ivan Conev, Elzbieta Eysymont, Yaroslav Antoniuk, Aleksej Ljeljavski and others resulted in making Mostar’s puppeteers true masters of animation and decent successors of the famous predecessors who made anthological performances in the ‘70s and ‘80s of the last century while working with directors like Edi Majaron, Luka Paljetak, Todor Ristić, Ivan Teofilov, Saša Jovanović and many others.
In recent years, the Puppet Theater Mostar has again become widely recognized for its quality and an innovative approach in its projects. In the past few years alone, the Theater has won a total of 44 awards at international and domestic festivals: two Grand Prix awards for Best Performances, the Award for Best Ensemble Play, the Award to Ensemble for Acting Mastership, the Special Prize for the Integrity of Theatrical Expression, the Special Prize for Completely Designed Project, and a large number of awards for the best individual and collective acting performances. In addition, there are numerous awards for Best Direction, the most Beautiful Set Design, Puppets and Costumes Design, and various awards from the Children’s Jury.
It is truly a peculiarity that the acting ensemble of the Puppet Theater consists of only five actors, who manage to hold ten performances on the current repertoire ranging from classic puppet shows to puppet musicals, interactive plays, performances for the youngest and older children. We plan to further expand our repertoire by including puppet performances for adults, and by establishing the Children’s Puppet Workshop for the children of the whole area of Mostar. In addition, the Puppet Theater aims to create better working conditions by investing in its premises and acquiring modern theater equipment. Thanks to friends from the Czech Republic and the Republic of Italy, the Small Stage “Karel Capek” was built and wardrobes were modernized. The upcoming plan includes a complete reconstruction of the Great Hall.
Puppet Theater Mostar is an ambitious, mobile and open theater, which holds its plays in the languages of all the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It continuously puts effort in its own profiling and qualitative progress, while at the same time nurturing its most important function – creating better performances for its most loyal, youngest audience.