BTL - Białostocki Teatr Lalek was started up in 1953, when a group of puppeteers led by Piotr Sawicki was granted a state subsidy. The theatre has been active ever since, producing 3 to 5 new performances each season. The Białystok-based stage employs a variety of puppet techniques and forms. Rod, glove and string puppets are used, and different forms of visual, object, mask and drama theatre are also performed.
The theatre has been directed by renown Polish puppeteer artists: Piotr Sawicki, Joanna Piekarska, Krzysztof Rau, Wojciech Kobrzyński and Wojciech Szelachowski. Since September 2005 BTL’s director is Marek Waszkiel, a puppet theatre historian and theatre critic.
During its history BTL cooperated with many outstanding artists. The productions carried out by them in Białystok left a distinct mark on the entire Polish art of puppetry. Jan Wilkowski and Adam Kilian produced their famous Dekameron 8.5 / Decameron 8.5 and Zielona gęś / The Green Goose at the BTL. Piotr Tomaszuk, a renown artist of the stage was connected with the BTL since his début in the 1980s. He produced several unforgettable shows: Polowanie na lisa / Fox hunting by Sławomir Mrożek and Turlajgroszek / Roll the Pea, and most recently Lis / The Fox by a young Polish puppet playwright Marta Guśniowska. Tadeusz Słobodzianek, a renown contemporary Polish playwright is also among acclaimed Polish artists who used to be affiliated with BTL.
Białostocki Teatr Lalek is one of the oldest Polish puppet stages to propose a repertoire for adults. Since the 1970s, works by world’s best literary authors regularly appear on its playbill: Boccaccio, Calderon, Rostand, Gogol, Bernhard, Różewicz, Szukszyn, Mrożek and Gałczyński. BTL was the first puppet theatre in Poland to have specially designed premises. In 1979, the city founded a building which houses three stages with total of 340 seats. Over the past 30 years, the theatre organized numerous national and international puppetry festivals, such as a festival of solo puppeteers and national meetings of puppet theatres.
In 1974 Białostocki Teatr Lalek started up an actor’s studio, and within a year it was transformed into the Puppetry Art Department of the Warsaw Theatre Academy. At present, nearly all the actors of the company are graduates of this school.
białostocki teatr lalek
białystok pupper theatre
Today's BTL specialises in shows for children, shows for adults and experimental forms of puppet perfomance. Children’s showings are usually stage adaptations of well-known fables and popular literature for children. Continuous work in the adult performances is a unique phenomenon. Most of these productions are created with the cooperation of international artists. Recently they were Marian Pecko (Slovakia), Duda Paiva (Holland), Alain Lecucq (France), Andras Veres (Hungary), Julija Skuratova (Lithuania), Frank Soehnle (Germany) and Christoph Bochdansky (Austria);
Białostocki Teatr Lalek is open to international cooperation, theatre traineeships for young artists, studio projects and workshop meetings. Every year BTL takes part in numerous festivals in Poland and abroad.
BTL runs workshops for children, theatre lessons for primary school students, as well as public readings of puppet plays for children, thus engaging in educational activity on a large scale. Every year the theatre also publishes collections of plays and organises exhibitions at the BTL Gallery. The premises of the theatre house an unusual Puppets' Cellar. The collection of puppets, masks, costumes and elements of stage design have been gathered over the years of BTL’s work and invite the visitor to get lost in the magic of puppet theatre.
For more information on the BTL Puppet Theatre, see: www.btl.bialystok.pl