Milan SladekMilan Sladek

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

Until 1960 he studied at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and in Studio D 34 in Prague, which was under the direction of the famous Czech avant-garde director E.F. Burian.  In 1959, Milan Sladek received an engagement from E.F. Burian Theatre. Later, he and Eduard Žlábek, the solo dancer and choreograph at D 34, created their own mime group. On March 11, 1960, Milan Sladek appeared on-stage for the first time with the character that he named KEFKA. One year later, the ensemble moved to Bratislava, where they worked permanently in the Slovak National Theatre between 1962 and 1964. At the same time, the group started performing abroad.

In 1968, Sladek became the director of the Theatre-Studio in Bratislava, where three ensembles had been brought together – drama, cabaret and mime – and remained there until August 21, 1968. The armies of five Warsaw Pact nations brought the "Prague Spring" to the end, so the Theatre-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 in Germany. Several international tours followed while the Companies Sladek became one of the internationally most known mime ensembles and gained great popularity in their new hometown Cologne.

On May 28, 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 50 own stagings and many international guest performances in that theatre. In a short period of time, THEATER KEFKA became one of the most vibrant centres for the international mime scene. Thanks to Milan Sladek`s initiative, the First International Festival of Mime Art – GAUKLER (the German meaning of “juggler”) was held in 1976, THEATER KEFKA, together with the City of Cologne, organized it.

From 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. Since the 1960-years Sladek realized some 50 productions on his own. Up to now, he played in more than 55 countries and joined 65 festivals worldwide.

Beginning 1980 Milan Sladek was the first time in Indonesia. He carried out a number of workshops and had various performances.


Selection of various awards:

1963 – Prize The Ministry of Culture, Prague
1965 – Grand Prix Nancy, France
1967 – Highest award stage direction, Istanbul – Turkey
1968 – Prize The Ministry of Culture, Prague - on the occasion of 50 years Czechoslovakia
1968 – Award Leopold Daniels, USA
2000 – Ľudovít Štúr-Award, 3. grade, granted by the President of Slovakia Rudolf Schuster
2000 – Federal Cross of Merit, 1. Grade, granted by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Johannes Rau
2009 – Festival GAGY, Award for Lifework, Slovakia
2016 – TREBBIA, European Awards, Prague
2017 – Art Prize, Theater im Bauturm, Cologne