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About the Project
The EU Contemporary Puppetry Critical Platform is an international project between four European countries led by the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre in Slovenia, with other partners in Croatia (The Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek), Lithuania (Vilnius Theatre “Lėlė”) and Scotland (Puppet Animation Scotland/Manipulate Festival).
The project aims to reposition puppet theatre criticism as an element in the public discourse, as well as to make contemporary puppet theatre relevant to a wider public by building an audience with an integrated approach and contemporary technology. An equally important objective is to alter prejudiced public perceptions of puppetry being “only for children” and an “elitist” form of art.
The project will promote the circulation of professional discourse and theory, and will increase transnational mobility of cultural operators active in the field of puppetry reflection (young critics, mentors, theorists, editors, professional writers, translators) through the exchange of puppetry knowledge and theoretical articles, travelling, professional workshops and critical residences.
The EU Contemporary Puppetry Critical Platform will present a series of seminars, workshops, discussions, artists’ and critics’ residencies at puppetry festivals and exchanges, exploring and sharing knowledge about the current best practice of contemporary puppetry, aiming to inform and strengthen the future resilience and sustainability of the art form and practitioners. Although the project runs between 2020 and 2022, the EU Contemporary Puppetry Critical Platform will become a sustainable international network that will unite other contributing countries. During the implementation of the project, a magazine on puppetry arts and theatre of animated forms, LUTKA, will be published. This will be a special edition on puppet dramaturgy with joint editorial board of all partners. Furthermore, video lectures on puppetry and puppet theatre criticism will be created as a joint production of all the partners. Finally, The Puppet Theatre Critics Handbook will be released.
The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (LPT) is the main Slovenian puppet theatre staging puppet and drama performances for children, youngsters and adults. Its predominant target audiences are children and young people. The theatre was established in 1948 (as the City Puppet Theatre) and has been based in Mestni dom in Krekov Square since 1984. In its work, the LPT builds on the hundred-year tradition of Slovenian puppetry. The LPT also pays special attention to cultural and artistic education in all dimensions, while at the national level cooperates in the endeavours to strengthen the standards and systemically place quality cultural content in the programmes of educational institutions. The LPT is a member of the International Puppetry Associations UNIMA and ASSITEJ.
The Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek is an institution of higher education that is, in many respects, quite unique within and outside the borders of the Republic of Croatia since it offers study programmes and grants degrees in art, social sciences, humanities and interdisciplinary fields of science and art, making it an institution of broad views and open to different types of students where they can acquire artistic and scientific competence in order to be able to live and work in contemporary society. The Academy consists of seven sections: the Department of Music, the Department of Creative Technologies, the Department of Culture, Media and Management, the Department of Instrumental Studies, the Department of Visual and Media Arts, and the Department of Theatre Arts and Postgraduate Study of Creative Therapies. The Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek takes pride in the fact that it is the first and only puppet school in Croatia: puppetry is also studied at the Department of Theatre Arts. Students study both dramatic acting and puppetry and acquire the title of a graduate actor and graduate puppeteer. The Academy contributes to Osijek’s cultural and artistic life by organising numerous events such as the “Dioniz” festival and “Lutkokaz” (an international puppetry gathering – a meeting of puppetry academies and small puppet theatres).Vilnius Theatre “Lėlė”, founded in 1958 in Vilnius by the puppeteer and director Balys Lukošius, is a state repertoire theatre. The theatre has two halls, a creative studio and a permanent exposition of the Living Puppet Museum. Performances are based on fairy tales of Lithuanian and world nations, plays by famous Lithuanian and foreign authors for children and adults. For a long time, the theatre was directed by the famous Lithuanian puppeteer Vitalijus Mazūras. Theatre performances have won awards from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and international professional theatre festivals. Since 1966, the theatre has been participating in the festivals of the UNIMA. “Lėlė” also contributes to the activities of the international organization ASSITEJ.
Puppet Animation Scotland is an art organization that promotes puppetry, visual theatre and animated film in Scotland and internationally. As well as the annual MANIPULATE Festival and the Puppet Animation Festival, Puppet Animation Scotland provides year-round networking opportunities, funding opportunities, practical advice, support and encouragement to all artists working with puppetry, visual theatre and animated film. The organization promotes and celebrates these art forms as valued art forms integral to Scotland’s rich and diverse cultural life, advocates and develops puppetry, visual theatre and animated film in Scotland. It has two annual festivals, the Puppet Animation Festival and the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival, and offers classes for young practitioners preparing for entry into the sector.
The Theatre Museum of Vojvodina was founded on 6 May 1982. Because of its dual nature of work (it deals with both the history of theatre and the achievements of contemporary theatre), the museum is a unique cultural institution. It stores a comprehensive archive of puppet history, ranging from puppets to promotional material of past puppet shows (brochures, posters, photographs). In cooperation with the International Children's Theatre Festival from Subotica, the museum has been organising the International Symposium on Puppetry, Children's and Puppet Theatre since 2009. The project author is Professor Dr. Henrik Jurkowski. In addition to its primary activity, the museum is responsible for publishing important publications on theatre and drama theory, as well as periodicals. So far, they have issued several important works by renowned national and international puppeteers and theatrologists. The museum also publishes the puppet magazine Niti.
EDITORS AND MENTORS
Tjaša Bertoncelj – Slovenian platform editor, dramaturg, publicist, curator and theatrologue, with an emphasis on puppetry arts. She holds an MA in the philosophy and sociology of culture. As a dramaturg, she has collaborated with established directors (Matija Solce, Tin Grabnar, Fabrizio Montecchi) and in the 2019/2020 season, she was employed as a dramaturg at the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. She moderates professional talks, writes theatre critics and professional articles and works as an editor (among others she was the co-editor of the trilingual professional magazine Lutka 2019).
Rok Bozovičar - a mentor, editor, critic. In 2013, he graduated in Philosophy and Comparative Literature, and later continued his doctoral studies at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade. He has been active as a critic since 2012, first at Radio Študent, then at Radio Slovenia, the newspaper Dnevnik and the Kritika platform. Since 2021 he has been co-editing the Maska journal and the Neodvisni criticism platform with Pia Brezavšček. He was the selector of the 55th Maribor Theatre Festival Borštnikovo srečanje (2020) and the 11th Biennial of Puppetry Artists of Slovenia (2021). He was also a part of numerous professional juries and committees, and in 2022 he is the selector of the 51st Week of Slovenian Drama Festival (2021). He is a member of the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia and the Contemporary Dance Association Slovenia.
Igor Tretinjak – a mentor, Croatian Platform editor. Since 2014, he has been working at the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek as a teaching/research assistant in the field of puppetry at the Department of Theatre Arts. He was in charge of the two-year project within the Creative Europe programme “All Strings Attached: Pioneers of European Puppetry”. Since 2008, he has published theatre reviews and academic papers in cultural and academic newspapers, publications, journals and web portals. Tretinjak is the founder and editor-in-chief of kritikaz.com, a theatre web portal, and the editor-in-chief of “Artos”, an online journal published by the Academy of Arts in Osijek. He is a member of the Croatian Association of Theatre Critics and Theatre Scholars, Croatian Centre of UNIMA and Arts Council of the International Puppet Theatre Festival.
Ieva Raudeliūnaitė – International and Lithuanian Platform editor. In 2013, she graduated from Vytautas Magnus University (Art History and Criticism). In the beginning, Raudeliūnaitė worked as a PR in International Kintai Music Festival. At the same time engaged herself in free-lance journalism, wrote articles about visual art, design, theatre and cinema, as well as made numerous interviews for “L‘Officiel“ magazine, the main Lithuanian news portal DELFI and others. Since 2018 Raudeliūnaitė has worked as a tour and project manager in The State Small Theatre of Vilnius and Improvisation Theatre “Kitas Kampas”. Currently, she is employed by Vilnius Theatre “Lėlė” and is editor-in-chief of SwO Magazine.
Kristina Steiblytė – a mentor of this project, a theatre critic, dramaturge, theatre critic. In 2020, she became the head of the Association of Performing Arts Critics. Since 2021, she has been working as a coordinator of foreign experts of Vilnius International Theatre Festival "Sirenos". In 2019, Steiblytė coordinated and moderated the Baltic Drama Forum conference "Mind the Gap". 2017-2019 Editor of Menų faktūra review column, administrator of Menų faktūra website.
Gareth K. Vile – a mentor, Scottish Platform editor. He is a teacher of Latin, a researcher at Glasgow University, an experimental critic and the theatre editor of “The List”. Working in the areas of classical civilisation, post-enlightenment dramaturgy, contemporary sequential art and performance, he focuses on new ways to engage audiences with critical processes, using both academic rigour and popular media. Creator of the Vile Blog, the CCA podcast and the fanzine “Edinburgische Dramaturgy”, Gareth is concerned with challenging the assumptions of how criticism is performed, the nature of the theatrical experience and supporting new critics through collaborations with many groups and organisations across Scotland.
Lilijana Dinić - editor of Serbian platform, mentor. Dinić is an independent curator working in the field of puppetry. She studied, among others, at The Theatre Museum of Vojvodina and in the Puppet Theatre/Fairground Attraction Collection at the Munich City Museum. She works as an author, co-author and editor of many publications on puppetry. She has written several published theatrical researches and articles about the latter and about theatre in general. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the first and only Serbian puppetry magazine Niti, which was founded in 2014.