Puppet Artists Biennial starts in Maribor

Maribor – The Maribor Puppet Theatre is hosting the 11th Biennial of Puppet Artists of Slovenia from Wednesday to Saturday. The selector Rok Bozovičar has picked 12 productions to present an overview of puppetry in Slovenia.

The selector picked the productions from among 42 he had seen. “This is quite a significant reduction compared to the previous biennial,” he said, explaining at Tuesday’s press conference in Maribor that in the end, he decided to merge the competition and the accompanying programmes.

“I wanted to give all performances the same visibility in the festival, especially in the light of the current situation. It seemed to me that this could be an inclusive biennial, bringing together the scene in the broadest possible sense,” he explained.

President of the Puppetry Artists’ Institution Anže Virant agreed that it was necessary to question what puppet theatre represents today and what the situation is in Slovenia.

“I think the selection shows this well enough, because it did not limit itself to traditional puppetry views, but also covers those borderline things that perhaps would not count as puppet theatre a few years ago,” he said.

The performances will be judged by an international jury consisting of Slovenian animator and director Špela Čadež, dramaturge and theatre scholar Zala Dobovšek and Marek Waszkiel, a Polish historian of puppet theatre, theatre critic and professor.

In addition to the puppet theatre performances, the festival will also feature exhibitions, discussions and a film screening. At the closing event on Saturday, the Pengov Charters and the Klemenčič Award for Lifetime Achievement in Puppetry will be awarded.

The Klemenčič Award will go to puppeteer Eka Vogelnik, a 75-year-old architect by trade, whom the judging panel praised for her versatile career spanning over 40 years.

“We can say that the puppet artist, director, teacher, fine artist, puppet designer, set designer, costume designer and illustrator can be credited with excellent creations in all fields of her creativity – in the magical world of theatre.”

The Pengov Charters for outstanding creations in the field of puppetry will go to actor Miha Bezeljak, director Tin Grabnar and puppet designer Žiga Lebar.