Milan Sládek (*1938), Germany / Slovakia
Slovak mime, choreographer, director, and professor Milan Sládek was born in 1938 in Streženice. He attended the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. One of his most recognizable characters is Kefka, a potboy in a garden restaurant and the main protagonist of the pantomime comedy “Hrča”. In 1962, his ensemble became an autonomous part of the Slovak National Theatre. Following the political upheaval of 1968, Sládek left for Germany. In 1974, he established Kefka Theatre in Cologne. Two years later, he launched the first annual Gaukler International Festival of Mime Art, considered the best festival of its kind in the world. In 1987, he became a professor of pantomime at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Additionally, in 2000, Slovak president Rudolf Schuster awarded him the Order of Ľudovít Štúr, 3rd class and German President Johannes Rau awarded him the Federal Cross of Merit, 1st class.