Irena Rajh

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.

Ana Špik

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.

Anže Virant

ANŽE VIRANT (1988, Ljubljana), is a dramaturg, actor, puppet artist and light designer.

As the youngest member of the FRU-FRU Family Theater, he has lived and traveled the world with puppets since early childhood. After graduating from high school, he went to study theater directing at Menu fakultetas in Lithuania for one year. After finishing his final production (Glass Menagerie), he enrolled in the study of dramaturgy at Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) in Ljubljana, where he graduated in 2016 with a mentor in Assoc. prof. dr. Tomaž Toporišič entitled Analysis of Puppet Texts and Pedagogical Work of Lojze Kovačič. He was a member of the Artizani Theater Group, which has received several national and international awards for his work. He is the recipient of the Prešeren Student Award for his work on the editorial board of magazin Oderuh. As a dramaturgy assistant, he participated in LGL in the play Little Mouse and White Mouse, directed by Ajda Rooss. He has written articles for Slovenian Drama Week, Borštnik Meeting, Oderuh, Pogledi… As a dramaturg and light designer, he has participated in several projects at AGRFT, as an assistant light designer for a project of three academies within the ECOC – Opera Orpheus, as a dramaturg and designer at the Bufeto Institute he participated in the performance of Jelizaveta Bam in SMG, in the season 2013/14 he worked as a dramaturg and light designer at Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (LGL) in the play My Umbrella is a Balloon Too (dir. Jelena Sitar), and in the season 2017/18 as a dramaturg and playwright at the performance of Bert (dir. Katja Povše) in LGL. He collaborates with the House of Children and Arts and the FRU-FRU Puppet Theater, where he performs in several performances. In 2016, he was a member of the jury at the Vizije Youth Theater and Puppet Theater Festival in Nova Gorica, and in 2018 he was a member of the Linhart Meetings jury. In 2018 and 2019 he was a selector of amateur puppet groups for JSKD. He is the president of the Puppet Creators Foundation (Ustanova lutkovnih ustvarjalcev).