International competition for the concept and realization of a puppet / animated object / theater form “Animatus” – edition 2021

“Animatus” is an international competition for the concept and realization of a puppet, animated object or other theater form, initiated in Kielce in 2018.
We would like to invite adult creators of various fields of art, visual arts and theater to participate in the competition. The winners of “Animatus” will receive financial awards and will implement the winning concepts as part of an artistic residency. 

The aim of the “Animatus” competition is to search for new means of expression in the field of puppet theater (also puppet theater for adults), broadly understood form theater and supporting innovative set design projects.

The main idea of this venture is to explore theatrical means in confrontation with the development of technology and various aesthetic concepts.
The three previous editions of the competition were attended by scenographers, designers, directors, performers, puppeteers and multimedia creators, and the awarded works were created using both traditional techniques (craftsmanship, puppetry, sculpture) as well as modern digital solutions, such as VR or 3D printing.

The competition task is to prepare an original project of a puppet / animated object / theater form, intended for use in a theatrical etude or performance. The deadline for submitting applications and projects to is August 31, 2021. Detailed conditions for participation in the competition are specified in the Regulations (available to download below).

The submitted works will be assessed by a professional Jury, selecting the most interesting projects for the second stage of the competition. Then, by September 15, 2021, the selected authors will present the detailed assumptions of their proposals, after which the Competition Commission will finally select three competition winners.

Each of the winners will receive an award of 1000 Euro and will take part in a residency, as part of which they will implement their competition project.

The organizer of the competition will provide residents with free accommodation and meals in Kielce, as well as workshops and materials necessary for the implementation of the project, as well as technical assistance from qualified employees.
The winners will also have access to consultants: set designers, constructors, actors and theater creators. During the residency, the laureate is obliged to complete the awarded project, which will be finally presented during the show to the public in Kielce.

The “Animatus” competition is organized by the “Kubuś” Puppet and Actor Theater in Kielce of Stefan Karski, in cooperation with the Design Institute in Kielce and the Museum of Toys and Fun in Kielce, and its originator and artistic director is Robert Drobniuch (currently director of the Guliwer Puppet Theater in Warsaw). The honorary patronage over the competition has the Polish Puppet Center Polunima.

The partners of the competition are also universities: Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, The Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, puppetry branch in Białystok, Academy of Theater Arts in Kraków, Puppetry Department in Wrocław, University of J. Kochanowski in Kielce.
The “Animatus” ceremonial final is scheduled for autumn 2021 and will include not only  presentations of the awarded works, but also lectures, the Forum of Forms students’  panel and an exhibition.

The word ANIMATUS, derived from Latin, means “animated, gifted with life”, and as we know, the foundation of puppetry lies in the assumption of animated matter. Professor Halina Waszkiel, searching for a new definition of a puppet, created a name that best describes contemporary puppet forms, ie: “ANIMANT – an absolutely arbitrary material or non-material object (e.g. shadow) subjected to animation by the artist-animator. (…) An animant can be a human-like puppet, hand puppet, stick puppet, rod puppet,  shadow marionette, shadow puppet, mask, any object, a piece of material, even a streak of light, but treated as a stage character, dialogue partner, carrier of ideas, aesthetic object,  building a metaphor, something what the actor introduces to the stage and shows viewers as the third element of the performance. The essence of theater is the meeting of the actor and the spectator. The essence of puppet theater is the meeting of three partners: the actor, the spectator and the puppet. And it does not matter whether the actor is visible to the viewer or hidden, for example, behind a screen – he is always there. “

The competition is to be an impulse to create contemporary animants, not only in theory, but above all – in practice.

We hope that Animatus will be an attractive challenge for artists, enabling them to develop and explore creatively.
We strongly encourage You to participate in the competition.

Please send any questions to:

or by phone: +48 698 859 302

The “Animatus” competition is organized by the “Kubuś” Puppet and Actor Theater in Kielce of Stefan Karski from the funds of the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport from the Culture Promotion Fund.