IRENA RAJH (1963, Ljubljana),
Manager of the FRU-FRU Puppet Theatre, the puppeteer, animator, director, mentor of a puppet education and organizer of cultural events. She encountered puppet theatre in her childhood when crossing the doorstep of Pionirski dom, meeting a writer, educator and mentor Lojze Kovačič, with whom she cooperated until his retirement. Despite graduating from the Faculty of Biotechnology, Irena remained loyal to puppets until this day. She collaborated with many renowned puppeteers, co-created and performed in more than 30 various shows, which have been produced by Pionirski dom puppet groups (1971-1986), group LUFT and Centre of youth activities (1985-1987), KUD France Preseren (1987-2001) and the FRU-FRU Puppet theatre, which has been her professional home theatre since 1993. The FRU-FRU Puppet theatre received several acknowledgements, won many awards, and is taking part at prestigious international festivals in Slovenia and abroad. In the years from 2007 to 2009, Irena organized acknowledged international festival The Labyrinth of the Moments. As a long-time mentor she directed more than 30 shows with children’s, youth and student puppet groups. In 2001 Irena jointly with Jelena Sitar opened children’s and youth centre House of Children and Art where a group Artisans works under her mentorship. The groups from House of Children and Art belong to the top amateur puppet creators in our country, participating in the festivals and gatherings in Slovenia and abroad, and are the winners of many prestigious awards. For mentoring and working with children and youth Irena in 1991, received a Linhart gold plaque, and in 2011 a special award of the festival Trans-generation. She is also active in KUD France Preseren as a Program Manager of associations leading projects Sabotage of France the Dragon (1991–2013), Emona Promenade (2000-2013), Trnfest (1996-1999), and other events intended primarily for children. As a member of the Board of the Foundation for Puppet Artists and coordinator of its programs, Irena is responsible for the recognition of Slovenian puppet art in the national and international environment.
MARJAN KUNAVER (1969, Ljubljana),
Actor and animator, employed in the FRU-FRU Puppet theatre, has in the last 25 years participated in various theatre and puppet groups for children, improvisational performances, street theatres, and worked with many renowned independent artists (Andrej Rozman Roza, Marko Derganc, Theatre Ana Monro, One Fiction Factory, Musical Theatre of Melita Osojnik, Puppet group Zoom). His puppet career began in the puppet group Zoom and later in 1992 he joined the FRU-FRU Puppet theatre, where he remains true to this day. He has been participating at the international festivals throughout Europe with FRU-FRU Puppet theatre since then. Marjan has performed in more than 20 different roles, worked with young but renowned directors, is established as technologist and creator of dolls. He is a producer of own performances (Theater Kuglica) and has been established as unsurpassed puppet animator, improviser and musician, since he can play on more than 20 different instruments. Marjan Kunaver and his companion Brane Vižintin recently founded the theatre Balinkugla, staged three performances for adults, and released two CDs with their original music. As most independent puppeteers, Marjan deals with all elements of puppet theatre, specializing in the field of puppet technology, and is becoming one of the most prominent masters in this field in our country. In the years 2002, 2006 and 2009 he attended international summer courses at the School of Puppetry in Charleville France, which took place under the leadership of the world’s leading puppet masters; animatronics – Pare Zaven, Jim Henson Studio, latex and mimic dolls – Terry Lee, Green Ginger Theatre, Marionettes – Stephen Mottram.
ANA ŠPIK (1986, Ljubljana),
Is a puppeteer-animator, organizer of events and creative workshops, graduate student of the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. After graduating from high school, she set sail in tourism and engaged in the organization of events. From an early age Ana has been active on the amateur stage performances, but artistic creation completely and finally took over her after her second maternity leave. Today she works as a puppeteer animator in the FRU-FRU Puppet theatre, and is also a long time member of the group Artisans. For her work Ana received several national and international awards. Within the group Artisans, she acquired formal education from the national and foreign educators, coming from different fields of art (circus theatre, the art of words, movement, pantomime etc.) and visited several international festivals. In the last three seasons she has been gaining experience in the Experiential Labyrinth of Art performances: Old House No. 3, In the Land of Finger Puppets; Emona Promenade. Performance in the Land of Finger Puppets, was chosen for the competition part of the 8th Puppetry Artists Biennial Slovenia, Maribor 2015, toured in the “Centre Culturel Pour’s Infant” in Reims, France in September 2015, and received an award for creativity at the international festival PIF in Zagreb in September 2016.