About the department

Study programmes at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre (KALD) explore the nature of what we call theatre, the ways it can be perceived, its role in modern society, how it can develop and change, and where its boundaries and crossovers are.

The course builds on one side on the long-standing teaching experience of a traditionally puppetry-oriented school, and on the other side works with trends stemming from avant-garde drama and the „open theatre“ movement.

Courses include the teaching of practical skills as well as theoretical and historical understanding of theatre. They explore the original role of drama and revisit the traditional divide of professions within theatre (directing, dramaturgy, set and costume design, acting, music, dance), with a special emphasis on collective work where these professions overlap and blend. This is emphasised especially in the rehearsal process, which is considered the core of the dramatic arts.

These topics are explored in the context of figurative and puppet theatre, DIY, happenings, art performance, dance, modern music and types of theatre (musical, documentary, political, purely physical, ancient, and non-European). However, the place for drama is not necessarily limited to theatre stage. Its principles can be applied in other forms of art and vice versa – drama can draw inspirations from other disciplines. That is why we focus on extending the principles of drama onto such forms as radio, music or experimental film. Inspiration for drama can come from not only dramatic literature, but even for example from scientific discoveries in the field of botany, mineralogy, alchemy, hermeticism, philosophy or psychology, as well as from mathematics, obscure cinematography, novels, poetry, essays, chronicles, jazz, baroque music or heavy metal.

A common territory of studies at the department is post-dramatic, devised, puppet, object and physical theatre. The focus is on posing questions and finding new ways of expression, rather than solely on practicing established techniques. Drama is considered as a constant opportunity to redefine oneself, rather than as a perfectly understood field. If drama is to remain alive, modern dramatic arts must be viewed as a question and not an established genre. Similarly, mastering individual professions such as directing and set design are not in itself the sole purpose of the study of theatre.

In addition to training in drama and performance, a crucial aspect of our study programmes is openness and cooperation in the creative process as well as the sharing of experience and ideas between all students and critical evaluation of one’s own work. Students acquire important knowledge of the history and theory of drama and this context complements the practical skills acquired through drama projects.

History of the Deparment


Happy generation

Jiří Havelka becomes Head of the Department after Josef Krofta. More prominent young artists, especially directors and set designers, join the department.


Renaming the department and more

Josef Krofta becomes Head of the Department. He extends the scope of teaching to include a number of new non-interpretative forms of drama and changes the department’s name accordingly.


Department is founded

The first Head of the Department of Puppetry at DAMU is Prof. Josef Skupa.


Osobnosti z historie katedry

prof. Vladimír Mikeš

překladatel, spisovatel, pedagog a děkan DAMU

MgA. Tomáš Žižka

Set designer, curator, authority in site specific art, head of the set design unit


prof. Jan Schmid

Acting coach, director, founder of Studio Ypsilon

doc. Irena Marečková

Set designer, tutor, head of the set design unit

Prof. Josef Krofta

Director and head of the DRAK Theatre, Head of Department 1990-2011

prof. Petr Matásek

An internationally known figure in set design and a prominent teacher

doc. Pavel Kalfus

Artist, set designer, tutor and head of the set design unit

Mgr. Jan Borna

Tutor, director, poet, board member at Divadlo v Dlouhé (Dlouhá Theatre)

doc. Markéta Schartová Kočvarová

Director, a prominent tutor and Dean of DAMU

Mgr. Jiří Kolafa

Composer, music tutor

prof. Richard Lander

Graphic designer, set designer, tutor, author of puppetry design textbooks

Mgr. Ivan Rajmont

Director, tutor, first post-1989 Head of Drama at the National Theatre

doc. Alois Tománek

Puppetry designer, production engineer, tutor, Head of Department 1988-90

<h3>doc. Václav Kábrt</h3>

<p>Set designer, puppet actor, head of the set design unit</p>

doc. Václav Kábrt

Set designer, puppet actor, head of the set design unit

prof. Miroslav Česal

Dramaturg, tutor, Head of Department 1969-88

Emil Havlík

Puppet actor, tutor, founder of the Central Puppet Theatre (Minor Theatre today)

doc. Zdeněk Raifanda

Founder of the puppetry group at Czechoslovakian Television, Head of Department 1965-68

JUDr. Erik Kolár

Dramaturg, tutor, co-founder and Head of Department 1953-62

prof. Josef Skupa

Director, founder of the Theatre of Spejbl and Hurvínek, co-founder and first Head of Department 1952-53

PhDr. Jan Malík

Director, puppet master, co-founder of the department

Dr. Eva Vodičková

Puppet historian and ethnologist, Head of Department 1962-65