Infrastructure and financing

Prior to 1989, puppetry was represented in Slovakia by the five professional (regional and state) puppet theatres. Four of them fell under the control of the regional government office which had founded it. The State Puppet Theatre was funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. Rather as an exception, which proves the rule, there were few agency puppet theatres prior to 1989 that were under control of the state agency Slovkoncert. However, with the fall of the Communist regime and attendant social changes, the structure of the Slovak puppet theatre sector began to change. Since 1989 puppet theatres have been divided into two categories according to their administrative and organisational structure. In the first category there are five professional puppet theatres subsidised by the individual self-administered regions of Bratislava, Nitra, Žilina, Banská Bystrica and Košice. The founder of the State Puppet Theatre had been changed as well therefore the theatre changed its name in 2002. These theatres are now recognised as legal entities and remain active today in the five regional capitals – in Bratislava the Bratislava Puppet Theatre, in Nitra the Karol Spišák Old Theatre in Nitra, in Žilina the Žilina Puppet Theatre, in Banská Bystrica Puppet Theatre at the Crossroads, and in Košice the Puppet Theatre in Košice. However, in addition to funding provided by their founders, these regional puppet theatre companies are now also able to obtain further funds from the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic or from the municipalities, or even apply for independent grants from various foundations. They can use these as additional sources of funding for additional activities such as festivals and joint projects with other theatres but also for more demanding artistic projects.
In the second group there is the network of independent puppet theatres (associations, societies etc.), the number of which increased significantly after 1990. The present number of such theatres (around 12-15) is slightly floating, but on the other hand it is roughly the same as it was in the 1990s when they first began to emerge. They generally involve fewer performers, mostly just one or two of them. We can speak here about the theatres of their creators – professionals. They have also achieved high artistic quality and belong to the most progressive recent theatres such as Med a Prach, Teatro Tatro (which cannot be considered a puppet theatre but uses its methods), Dezorzo Puppet Theatre, PIKI Theatre and Teatro Neline.
Independent puppet creation also exists in the form of individually-made productions by soloists.
Apart from these networks of puppet theatres, there also exist other specialised institutions with orientation towards puppetry. In the area of education there are the Department of Puppetry of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and secondary art schools, in the area of museums there are the Museum of Puppetry and Toys in Modrý Kameň and other workplaces of SNM, community centres and amateur ensembles. The puppets are regularly presented by BIBIANA and thee International House of Art for Children. Over the last two decades several international puppet exhibitions (African Puppets, Polish Puppets, Czech Puppets, Hungarian Puppets and an extensive exhibition of Slovak puppets) have been organised by the House in the framework of its exhibition activities. Puppetry activities in this House (exhibitions, productions, festival) fall under the responsibility of Eva Carska.
Two international non-governmental organisations – the UNIMA Union International de la Marionnette, i.e. the International Puppetry Union and the International Amateur Theatre Association (AITA/IATA) – the International Association of Amateur Theatre also form part of the network of puppet institutions and organisations.
Mention should also be made of the private collections and collectors of puppets and puppet theatres. Among the most important puppet collections in Slovakia are the extensive collection of the family of Anton Anderle from Banská Bystrica and that of Igor Rymarenko from Bratislava. A well-known writer Peter Pistanek was also an enthusiastic fan and collector of puppets.