Pilsen is one of the cradles of traditional Czech puppetry, which was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. More than 100 years of tradition are represented in the personality of the world’s puppetry with characters such as Josef Skupa and Jiří Trnka, puppets Spejbl and Hurvínek and an array of local puppet theatre. Their legacy continues on today in the Puppet Museum’s exposition. You will find the building located right on the historic city centre of Pilsen’s Republic Square.
Tuesday – Sunday
Adults CZK 60
Children 3 and older CZK 30
Students and seniors CZK 30
Family admission CZK 130
Group admission (starting with at least 10 people): CZK 30 per visitor
náměstí Republiky 23
301 00 Pilsen
Visiting the Puppet Museum
The museum recounts the most diverse of stories via its puppets. You will see more than 100 puppets and small theatres of all sorts of different sizes and styles. Here you will find more than basic exhibits hidden away behind glass. The exposition will guide you through the history of Pilsen’s puppet theatre, while also giving visitors the opportunity to try their hands at puppetry. The exposition is suitable for children and adults alike, with a little something for everyone here. And if you’re up to the task, you can even try out participating in a performance. A special father-friendly programme dubbed ‘The Expedition on a Thread’ was designed with fathers and grandfathers in mind. Here you can set out with your children on a puppet-themed eight-thousander and overcome various obstacles along the way.
Tradition of puppetry in Pilsen
The tradition of puppetry in Pilsen dates back to the days of travelling theatres. Pilsen native Josef Skupa is the spiritual father of the characters of Spejbl and Hurvínek, whose playful statue can be found in the city’s green belt of gardens, not far from the Museum of West Bohemian and the Hotel Continental. Another significant Pilsen native connected to the world of puppets is the animated filmmaker Jiří Trnka. His films continue to inspire modern creators even to this day, with even the likes of Tim Burton drawing motivation from his work. Pilsen’s Alfa Theatre has been putting on performances of puppet theatre now for many, many years.
Spejbl and Hurvínek
The legendary Czech puppet duo of Spejbl and Hurvínek were created in Josef Skupa’s workshop in Pilsen. The woodcarvers Karel and Gustav Nosek are responsible for the puppets’ actual appearance, meaning the glory belongs to these Pilsen natives just as it does to the author of the puppets. The eternal grumbler of Spejbl and his mischievous son Hurvínek were eventually joined by other characters – Mánička, aunt Kateřina and the dog Žeryk. These characters quickly became the most popular performers in theatre, late-night children’s television and on radio shows. Many generations of Czechs grew up with these characters. Recently an entire crew with Hurvínek as their leader was featured in a number of animated, late-night films, which continue to entertain children to this day.
Where can I go to see Spejbl and Hurvínek?
You won’t only run into Spejbl and Hurvínek at the Puppet Museum, where an entire section of the exposition has been dedicated to them. Their bronze statues can also be found in the Šafaříkovy sady portion of Pilsen’s green belt of gardens, located near the Hotel Continental. Children love to have their pictures taken with the pair. You can also purchase these handmade wooden puppets at the Puppet Museum or at the Tourist Information Centre.