Integration of Puppetry Tradition into Contemporary Theatre

The Reinvigoration of the Vertep Puppet Nativity Play after Communism in Eastern Europe

Authored by: Ida Hledíková

The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  July  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415705400
eBook ISBN: 9781315850115
Adobe ISBN: 9781317911722


 Download Chapter



A tradition of “crèche” performances, representations of the Christian Nativity, existed in many countries of Central and Eastern Europe (e.g., Austria, Bohemia, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Russia) during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This tradition primarily came from folk plays presented at Christmastime, but the oldest traditions were derived from pastorals with a Christmas theme, which appeared in the European Baroque theatre around 1555 when the first modern-era plays performed in Latin, called pastorales sacrae, were staged in Italy (Slivka 1992: 90). Alongside this tradition, which was developed by Jesuits, came popular presentations of the Nativity story performed in the language of the local populace, the “folk.” These Nativity scenes, presented as folk plays, existed in both puppet and human form or as a combination of the two.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.