Artist Details

Milan Sladek

Milan Sladek


Mime artist extraordinaire, Milan Sladek is one of the worlds greatest exponents of the art of mime.


Local Management



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 an engagement from E.F. Burian Theater. Later he and Eduard Zlabek, 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 abroad. Up to now he has 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 an 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 most well known international 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 stagings and many international guest performances in that theater. In a short period KEFKA became one of the most vibrant centres for the international mime scene. It was through Milan Sladek`s initiative that in 1976 the First International Festival of Mime Art – „GAUKLER“ (the german meaning is inpostor) was held. It was organized by THEATER KEFKA  together with the City of Cologne.

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 returned to Germany, and Cologne started to be the base of his artistic works again.


Milan Sladek productions:

Solo mimes (1955)
Mime evening (Solo and a group pantomime Love on the Case,1958)
A Bump (1960)
The Junkman(1961)
Observations (1962)
Abduction into the Silence (1964)
Comedy about Rich Man and Lazarus (morality after Pavel Kyrmezer
1964,1967, 1981 and 2006)
Solo mimes (1965)
Comedy about Tobias (after Kyrmezer,1966)
The Junkman (mime-drama after Debureau,1967 -1983)
Kefka and a Lost Ball (performance for a children,1968)
Present (black-theatre mime grotesque,1971)
Soldier ’s Story (Igor Stravinsky a C.F.Ramuz,1973)
Beggars ’Opera (John Gay and Papusch,1976)
Little Pirate (projekt with Mauricio Kagel,1976)
Milan Sladek - mimes (Solo program,1977)
Kefka ’s Don Juan (Ch.W.Gluck,1978)
Biribi (after Max Kommerell,1980)
Masks, improvisations (jazz pantomime improvisations,with Albert Mangelsdorf,1982)
Carmen (1983)
Ubu Roi (mime-farce after Alfred Jarry,1984)
The Insect Play (Josef and Karel Capek,1985)
Münchhausen (1986)
Three Wise Men and a Servant (G.M.Hofmann,1987)
Marriage at the Eiffel ’s Tower (Jean Cocteau,1989)
Apocalyptica (Milko Kelemen, Fernande Arrabal,1989)
Le nozze di Figaro (W.A.Mozart, Seoul, South Korea, 1991)
Coronation of Poppea (Claudio Monteverdi, Opera of Slovak National Theater  1993)
Masquerade (1993)
Milan Sladek ’s Fantasy Varieté (1994)
Grand Pierrot (1994,1996)
Milan Sladek, Mimes II.(1998)
Ubu (new production,1999)
Robinson, mime for children (1999)
Labyrinth MM -The End &The Beginning (2000)
CARMEN (mime comedy 2000)
About Strange Hat (mime comedy for children 2000)
Three pennies Opera (Brecht/ Weill, 2001)
Der Mond (Carl Orf, 2002)
Magic Night (2003)
Andy Andy (2004)
Three pennies Opera (Brecht/ Weill, for Theatre KAZE, Tokio, 2005)
Pantalon and Columbine, KV 446 (W.A. Mozart, for Mozart-festival Wien, 2006)
Marcel Dupre „The Cross Way op.29“ (2007)
Rossini Project „Since of the Age“ (2007)
Jupiter and the others (2007)

Milan Sladek´s awards and prizes:

1965 - Grand Prix of Festival in Nancy

1967 – 1st Prize in Istanbul

1968 - Prize of the Ministry of Culture of the CSSR, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic

1997 – The Hana Melickova honor for outstanding production and performance

1998 - Award of the capital city Bratislava, conferred for his efforts in reconstructing the Theater Arena and for his lifelong contributions in the field of movement theater

1998 - Prize of Ministry of Culture for many years of excellent working results and for his ersonal contribution to Slovak culture and art

1999 - Award for cultural activities conferred by Leopold J. Danihels to Sladek for unique mastery in the field of mime, for representation of Slovak culture during his exile and for establishing the Institute of International Movement Theater in Bratislava

2000 - Order of Ludovít Štúr, high state order awarded by the President of the Slovak Republic, Rudolf Schuster

2000 -German Cross of Merit, 1st class, awarded by  President of Federal Republic of Germany Johannes Rau


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