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2003 - Milan Sládek

Milan Sládek, born in Slovakia, is regarded as one of Europe’s leading mime artists. In addition he is also active as a director, author, teacher, theatre manager, mask designer, graphic artist and painter. In 1963 he was awarded a prize from Prague’s Ministry of Culture for his experimental artistic work. Since then he has been much in demand abroad, performing in over 50 countries.
In 1968 he became manager of the theatre studios in Bratislava, which shortly after were closed as a consequence of the political disturbances. Milan Sládek then emigrated to Sweden before moving to Cologne in 1970 where four years later he foanded the Theatre Kafka, the only permanent theatre for mime in Western Europe. This has evolved into a international meeting point for all mime artists, both in and outside Europe. Milan Sládek was Professor at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen from 1987 to 1992. In 1994 he was appointed Director of the Theatre Aréna in Bratislava.
In addition to the theatre of mime, Milan Sládek has developed a special form of stage puppetry whereby puppets of approx. 140cm size are animated on stage by up to three puppeteers in full view of the audience. His production of the “Three Penny Opera” which opened the Kurt Weill Festival was based on this technique. Also he has directed Kurt Weill’s pantomime “Magic Night“ as a blend of mime and so-called “black” theatre, while incorporating aesthetic ideas from the Bauhaus movement. The premiere of this production took place in Dessau and was subsequently performed at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf.

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