Julija Skuratova and Algirdas Mikutis: about themselves at Lėlė Theatre and themselves with puppets 0

Interlocutor and compiler Viktorija Ivanova
www.kamane.lt, 2013-12-09

In brief: This autumn Vilnius Lėlė Theatre celebrated its 55th anniversary, and on this occasion a publication was prepared with sketches of performances, photographs and thoughts of artists who created at the theatre – Vitalijus Mazūras, Rimantas Driežys, Neringa Keršulytė, Aušra Bagočiūnaitė-Paukštienė, Julija Skuratova and Algirdas Mikutis. Extracts from thoughts of the latter two artists about themselves at Lėlė Theatre and themselves with puppets are shared with readers of kamane.lt.

 Theatre artist

Julija Skuratova has created set designs for performances in various Lithuanian and foreign theatres: Vilnius Lėlė Theatre, Kaunas State Puppet Theatre, Kaunas State Drama Theatre, Klaipėda Puppet Theatre, Poznan Animation Theatre (Poland), Rzeszów Puppet Theatre Maska (Poland), Warsaw A. Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy Bialystok Puppet Theatre Faculty (Poland), Bialystok Puppet Theatre (Poland), Košice Puppet Theatre (Slovakia), Budapest Puppet Theatre Budapest babszinhaz (Hungary), Moscow Theatre TriLika (Russia). Since 1999 she has been participating in set design exhibitions in Lithuania, Poland and Czech Republic.

The most outstanding works I created at Lėlė Theatre is the diptych of madrigal operas “The Duel of Tancredi and Clorinda” and “The Dance of the Ungrateful” and the performance “Breasts of Tiresias”. I consider these works staged along with the director Gintaras Varnas my essential experiences. I was fully devoted to these works.


Most probably every set designer is engaged in direction while thinking about the visual solution of the performance, such is his/her work. It is more abstract, not so concrete but offers some concept, style, ground or axis from which the performance develops. Of course, the performance may develop differently with each director. Good results appear when the opinions, tastes, sense of humour of the set designer and the director coincide.


I teach students composition and technology of puppets at Vilnius Academy of Arts. I would say that interest in the puppet theatre is greater today than at the times when I studied. The puppet theatre is a very favourable field of creation to the set designer, it grants the possibility to express one’s fantasy. This is the reason why many students get interested in this field, make diploma works. Still, they vanish after the studies. There are not enough puppet theatre directors in Lithuania today, nobody is searching for young artists. There are not so many puppet theatres too.

 Actor, director, artist of puppet theatre

A. Mikutis has created set designs and directed performances at Vilnius Lėlė Theatre, Vilnius Old Town Theatre, Stalo Theatre, Šilutė Chamber Drama ad Stained-glass Puppet Theatre Vaivorykštė and the puppet theatre Berniukas Žirniukas of the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library, Division of Children’s Literature. Also, he has created several TV puppet performances. A.Mikutis is known in Lithuania not only as a puppet theatre director, but also as a jeweller creating from amber, ivory, wood. From 1995 he is a member of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association, from 2004 – a member of the National UNIMA Centre (Lithuanian Branch of the International Union of Puppeteers). Since 1985 he has been participating in national and international jewellery exhibitions.

When I search for visual solutions in a performance, I lean upon the theory of Vitalijus Mazūras which he implements in life too – means of expression are not final in the puppet theatre. The artist should contribute to the play directly so that it would be visual, attractive and that things not said in words would be rendered. Only the puppet theatre grants such vast possibilities of expression to the artist. Decoration is what a perfect play needs vitally.


My teachers were famous theatre creators and educators: Dalia Tamulevičiūtė, Vitalijus Mazūras, Irena Bučienė, Reinas Aguras. Tamulevičiūtė taught to be loyal, fanatic, to sacrifice oneself to the theatre.


I am an artist by 70 percent and a director by 30 percent. I spend the biggest part of my time as an artist, and direction is my favourite and loved work. Jewellery and the puppet theatre are two different fields in which I rest from each of them.


From the catalogue “Artists of Vilnius Lėlė Theatre”

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