State Puppet Theatre of Varna has been established in 1952. More than 270 performances have been implemented on its stage over past years, more than 20,500 performances have been played and watched by millions of spectators both in Bulgaria and abroad.
The theatre has its own building in the city centre – a valuable architectural monument that is originally adapted to the needs of a modern cultural institute. An area of 2,440 square meters accommodates a 130-seat hall, a rehearsing hall, dressing rooms, administration premises, workshops, Museum of Puppets. The theatre hall and the Museum of Puppets are equipped with ramps for disabled persons.
The 34-member theatre staff includes 15 actors – graduates from the theatre academy NATFA, artistic workshop experts, technical staff, administration.
Performances for spectators of various ages: classical and modern titles for children, funny and vanguard performances for adults as well as educational performances for students.
The theatre repertoire titles reveal the large capacities for expression of puppet art in its various styles: all systems of classical puppets, improvised puppets, shadow theatre, masks, black camera, projections on a screen, plastics, visual effects, etc.
An art studio is also operated for artistic projects not included in the repertoire programme. Performances for children and the performances for adults The Cave and the Shadows and Mozart and Salieri have been also staged.
In 2010, the State Puppet Theatre Varna was awarded the Icarus National Prize for high achievements in the field of theatre art.
State Puppet Theatre - Varna has won the Great prize Golden Dolphin five times (1978, 1981, 1996, 2005, 2011), the Special prize (2002), it had won, not only once, the Varna prize, and also a great number of collective and individual prizes. In the past several years, great national and foreign prizes had been won by the following performances:
* Folklore Fantasies - Varna prize (2002), the prize of audience - Puppet Festival, Tolosa, Spain (2003), Best Performance Prize at the 5th Asian International Puppet Festival in Taipei, Taiwan (2004); the performance has been chosen by the State Tourist Agency to present the Bulgarian culture on the World Tourist Exhibitions in London (England) -2006, Thessalonica (Greece) - 2006, Moscow (Russia) - 2007, Stuttgart (Germany) - 2007; award for the acting ensemble at the 8th International Festival of Performances for Children The Magic Curtain, Targovishte, Bulgaria (2007).
* Thumbelina - Best Performance Prize at the 6th Asian International Puppet Festival in Taipei, Taiwan (2005), award for Outstanding Performance at the International Festival of Puppet Theatres - Shanghai, China (2005), award for the Best vision of children performances at the International Puppet Festival Three are Too Many, Two - Not Enough, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2006); two awards at the 13th IPF The Golden Dolphin, Varna, Bulgaria (2005).
* A Story About the Singing Tree - the Great prize "Golden Dolphin" for entire performance and four individual prizes at the 13th IPF The Golden Dolphin (2005); awards for artistry at the 7th International Festival of Children`s Theatres - Banja Luka 2008, RS.
* The Cave and the Shadows - Varna prize (2007); chosen to present contemporary Bulgarian culture at the International Tourist Fair in Stuttgart, Germany (2007); award for Experimental and New Forms at the 5th International Puppet Theatre Festival for Adults Pierrot, Stara Zagora , Bulgaria (2007); prize for Development of the theatre's means of expression at the 14th International Puppet Festival The Golden Dolphin, Varna, Bulgaria (2008).
State Puppet Theatre - Varna is one of the most preferred participants in world cultural forums and puppet-theater festivals. It has been a guest artist in almost all European countries - England, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Algeria, Taiwan, India, Japan, China, US, Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Canary Islands...
Since 1972, the theatre has been promoting and hosting the prestigious The Golden Dolphin International Puppet Festival. The festival takes place every three years in early October in Varna and is a centre of the best achievements of puppet theatre art from all over the world.
Over last years, the Puppet Theatre of Varna has been actively working on projects in the field of the out-of-school education and leisure attended by hundreds of children and teenagers.
Since April 2008, Varna Puppet Theatre is a base of the newly established non-profit Puppet Therapy Association.
The Association aims at promoting and implementation of the idea of using the puppet during the treatment and education process as a mediator between the treating (educating) staff and the treated (educated) persons; collaboration with the Puppets and Therapy International Association and other similar organizations.
Museum of Puppets
A Museum of Puppets has been opened in 1985 at the theatre – the only one of this kind on the Balkans and one of the very few puppet museums in Europe. The exposition presents near 130 theatre puppets and scenery elements from 24 emblematic performances played from 1952 to 2002.