Artistic Director for Puppet Arts Theatre,
Peter Zapletal, grew up in former Czechoslovakia, recognized
as the world center of modern puppetry. After graduating
with a Master’s Degree in Puppetry from the Academy of the
Performing Arts in Prague, he joined the professional puppet
theatre in Zilina, Slovakia. Soon afterwards he and his
family emigrated to New York where he immediately started to
produce puppet performances.
By 1970 he was recognized in a New York
Times article as a talent to watch. But his path took a turn
South - literary - and he moved to Jackson, Mississippi,
where he joined the local PBS station as a puppeteer in
residence. During the next 32 years he created many
instructional and special programs with and without puppets.
His instructional programs were seen in classrooms across
the United States and special programs, from Beauty and the
Beast, to Steadfast Tin Soldier with Burl Ives, to Bolero (a
ballet special) were broadcast by PBS stations.
Peter Zapletal garnered more than 50
national awards, among them five Emmy Awards for Ticktock
Minutes, Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences for the 25 years of excellence
in television puppetry, The Puppeteers of America Award for
high standards and continued excellence in puppetry.
In addition to his television work, he
also produced many shows that Puppet Arts Theatre tours
throughout the Southeast offering magical and exciting
Mr. Zapletal’s other professional
activities include stage directing of Gian Carlo Menotti's
The Telephone and The Medium, operas with Opera South at
Jackson State University, directing Hansel & Gretel and The
Golem with the Millsaps Players at Millsaps College, serving
as President of Union Internationale de la Marionette - USA,
Inc., Artistic Director for three National Festivals of the
Puppeteers of America, and as Artistic Coordinator for 1980
World Puppetry Festival, at the Kennedy Center for
Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.