Milan Sládek


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Milan Sladek

was born in Slovakia in 1938. He graduated in 1957 from the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Bratislava, specializing in wood-carving. He showed a strong interest in theater, being a member of the student theater at Comenius University, where he presented his first Solo mime scenes.

Until 1960 he studied at the Theater Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and in Studio D 34 in Prague which was under the direction of the significant Czech avant-garde theater. During that time the director of this theater was E.F. Burian. In 1959 Milan Sladek received engagement from E.F. Burian Theater. Later he and Eduard Žlábek, the solo dancer and choreograph at D 34, created their own mime group. On 11th of March, 1960 Milan Sladek appeared on-stage for the first time with the character that he named it „KEFKA“.

One year later the ensemble moved to Bratislava, where they started to work permanently in Slovak National Theater between 1962 and 1964. At the same time the group started performing in abroad. Up to now he played in more than 50 countries. In the year 1968, Sladek became the director of the Theater-Studio in Bratislava, where three ensembles had been brought together – drama, cabaret and mime – and remained until August 21,1968. Armies of five Warsaw Pact nations brought the "Prague Spring" to the end, so Theater-Studio was closed and Milan Sladek had to leave his native country. He stayed in Sweden for two years and then he moved to Cologne/Germany. Several international tours followed while the Compagnie Sladek became one of the internationally most known mime ensembles and gained great popularity in their new home town Cologne.

On 28th of May, 1974 Milan Sladek opened the THEATER KEFKA in Cologne, at that time it was the only permanent mime scene in Western Europe. There were presentations of 45 own staging’s and many international guest performances in that theater. In short period KEFKA became one of the most vibrant centres for the international mime scene. It was the Milan Sladek`s initiative that in 1976 the First International Festival of Mime Art – „GAUKLER“(the German meaning is “juggler”) was held. It was organized by THEATER KEFKA together with the City of Cologne.

In 1987 until 1992 Milan Sladek was Professor of Mime Arts at Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen. From 1992 till 2002 he was director of THEATER ARENA, the International Institute of Mime Art in Bratislava, where he organized the International Festival of Mime Art – KAUKLIAR – in the fall of 1996. In 2002 Milan Sladek came back to Germany, and Cologne started to be the base of his artistic works again.


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