Mini teater

Mini teater was founded in 1999 by Robert Waltl and Ivica Buljan with the aim to strengthen the creation of post-dramatic theatre and theatre for young audiences. Aesthetically, Mini teater focuses on texts by authors such as Bernard-Marie Koltès, Heiner Müller, Robert Walser, Elfriede Jelinek, Jean Genet, Hervé Guibert, Arthur Rimbaud, A. S. Pushkin and H. Ch. Andersen, and prioritises exploratory directorial aesthetics with directors such as I. Buljan, A. Anurov, P. Calvario, S. Nordey, R. Waltl and J. Ivanc, while the programme for young audiences pays special attention to innovative art-educational projects.

Mini teater has received numerous awards and prizes for its theatre work abroad and in Slovenia, and has worked with outstanding actors (Milena Zupančič, Marko Mandić, Veronika Drolc, Ana Karić, Senka Bulić, Polona Vetrih, Jurij Souček . ..), visual artists (V. Fiškin, S. Tolj, B. Cain, T. Gverović, SON:da, T. Gotovac, M. Jakše ...) and musicians (Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar, The Beat Fleet, Jose, Ditka Haberl, Dunja Vejzović, Tamara Obrovac ...).

Mini teater performs about five hundred performances a year in Ljubljana, Slovenia, abroad and at numerous international festivals, and in ten years it has performed one hundred and eighty tours on all continents and at renowned festivals in Moscow, Naples, Havana, Warsaw, Vienna, Brussels, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Cairo, Tehran and elsewhere. The international cooperation of Mini teater with Croatian institutions such as Novo kazalište Zagreb, ARL Dubrovnik, ZeKaeM - Zagreb Youth Theatre, Zadar snova, Teatar ITD and HNK Rijeka also confirms its orientation and successful partnerships.

Mini teater's aim is actually paradoxical, as it wants to be a theatre that is both elitist and populist, eccentric and appealing to a wide audience, which is why it is breaking down and transcending traditional theatrical barriers, and in its new premises on Križevniška Street in Ljubljana, it is also implementing the concept of "expanded theatre", with the organisation of concerts, readings of novels by the best Slovene actors, and many artistic actions.

"I wanted a free, creative theatre because I was suffocated by an institution where I could no longer find inspiration and my potential was trapped in a vicious circle. I founded Mini teater ten years ago with Ivica Buljan because I wanted to combine my love for puppet theatre and contemporary drama. I was inspired by New York theatres like La Mama, open spaces where plays are performed, concerts are held, poetry evenings, promotions, debates, gatherings are organised."Robert Waltl, director and co-founder of Mini teater.

MI(NI)SMOMINI (we are not mini) is the slogan with which Mini teater is marching on. But, despite the name, Mini teater has never been small.

The important duality of Mini teater
Because of its success in both areas of its work, we sometimes hear the question whether Mini teater is a theatre for children and young people or for an adult audience. Are Mini teater puppet shows or post-dramatic performances?

Both. And more. Mini teater has succeeded in creating a theatrical paradox that combines both a love for children and their creative needs and an innovative and sometimes controversial post-dramatic programme. "I wanted a free, creative theatre, because I was suffocated by an institution in which I could no longer find inspiration. My potential was trapped in a vicious circle," Robert Waltl therefore combined his love for puppet theatre with contemporary drama and founded Mini teater together with director Ivica Buljan. Following the example of theatres such as New York's La MaMa, they have established the concept of "expanded theatre" in their new space, which breaks down and transcends traditional theatrical barriers with performances, concerts, poetry evenings, novel readings and artistic actions, with the door always open to visiting groups and individuals full of enthusiasm and creativity. Saša Pavček, Lara Jankovič, Bossa de Novo, Branko Potočan, Theatre Gigante and Vlado Kreslin, Svetlana Makarovič and Zvezdana Novaković, students of AGRFT and the Faculty of Education, Exodos, Columbia Marionette Theater, Jewish Cultural Centre, Carinthian Cultural Centre, IHS, SKC Danilo Kiš, Italian and French Institutes are just some of the artists whose creativity has been supported by the Mini teater.

A distinctive place of creativity
Mini teater's performances soon began to outgrow their initial conception and limitations, and with numerous premieres, around 100 of its own productions, starring more than 150 actors, Mini teater has become one of the most successful theatres in its field. To produce around 500 events a year, including more than 300 for children, 90 for adults, and to attract more than 70,000 people as co-creators and spectators, is a great success. Invitations to Mini teater to renowned international festivals and tours not only in Slovenia, the Balkans and Europe, but also in countries as far away as the USA, Korea, Venezuela, Cuba or Iran, Pakistan, Armenia or Russia, carry the name of Ljubljana and Slovenia far beyond the borders and put the Slovenian capital even more prominently on the world cultural map.

But the numerous awards fr om both professional juries and the public that Mini teater has received in a relatively short period of time are not only a great confirmation of its outstanding work. They are also an extraordinary responsibility to keep up the good work and to continue to do so in the future. They are an unwritten commitment to which Mini teater has consistently adhered: we are the only Slovenian independent theatre to have won the biggest prize in the domestic theatre scene twice in a row - the big Borštnik Prize for the best overall production.

With its own productions for both children and adults, by participating in joint projects, by organising or hosting international festivals, by launching Ljubljana's new cultural quarter, Križevniška, by being involved in the commemoration of the 2000th anniversary of Emona or the 20th anniversary of the independent cultural scene in Ljubljana, Mini teater proves that it is by no means mini.

Grandpa Frost from Križevniška
Every year at the end of autumn, preparations for the traditional Grandpa Frost parade through Ljubljana begin at Mini teater. The end of the year is here soon enough, when Mini teater's director, Robert Waltl, who has been playing the role of Grandpa Frost for twenty years, sets off on a carriage pulled by Lipizzaners, accompanied by a colourful troupe of animals and many fairy-tale creatures and musicians from the Vevče Wind Orchestra, on the last days of December, every afternoon from the front of Mini teater on Križevniška Street, on a journey around Ljubljana. He delights excited toddlers with sweet candies, and gives wise advice to parents and their companions. From the Mini teater, he follows the path along the Breg over the Čevljarski Bridge to the Town Square, continues to the Prešeren and Congress Squares, wh ere he is greeted by the biggest crowds, and then slowly returns by carriage to the Mini teater.

In December, Grandfather Frost often puts on his coat after the Mini teater performances, when he also cheers up the children with small presents. With all the toys and sweets they receive fr om all sides, the children are more than delighted by the gift of a puppet or a children's performance, and talk about the magic of puppets and theatre with a twinkle in their eyes long afterwards.

New cultural quarter Križevniška
As soon as Grandpa Frost says goodbye and the New Year lights go out, many people are already anxiously counting down to spring, when the city will be green and alive again. With the arrival of Mini teater, the previously grey, deserted and overlooked Križevniška street has also been revived and greened - since Mini teater came, Križevniška street has been alive all year round.

Mini teater is the initiator of the new cultural quarter Križevniška, which brings together artists and creators as well as residents. The project immediately met with great satisfaction and interest from visitors and tourists. As part of the Urban Interventions and Greening project, one of the few urban interventions in the centre of Ljubljana and a new opportunity for the cultural revitalisation of the city, the Križevniška Quarter has also been equipped with small art installations, benches, new signs and marker boards, while the trees in the street and the flowers in the windows and in the wheelbarrows create a pleasant atmosphere in the strict city centre and offer a sometimes necessary escape from the city's hustle and bustle. "Is the Slovenian capital becoming any friendlier to its inhabitants as a result? It certainly is. This is also evidenced by some changes in behaviour. The inhabitants of the revitalised areas of Ljubljana know each other and greet each other. As they used to in the villages or in smaller towns. In fast and bitter times, such gestures count for much more than meets the eye," writes Matjaž Potokar in an article for Adria In-Flight Magazine.

In 2011, Mini teater celebrated the opening of the Križevniška cultural quarter with a performance based on Tomaž Šalamun's poems I, After Whom Ljubljana Can Be Named - Poker, which took place in ten different locations between Križanke and the Ljubljanica river and featured actors from Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, South America and France. "With events like this one, we want to entice the people of Ljubljana to the street to mingle and be proud of the Križevniška tradition," says Robert Waltl. "Šalamun's 70th birthday was not only an ideal opportunity for Ivica Buljan and I to pay tribute to this great cosmopolitan, but also to discover all the hidden corners that Križevniška and its surroundings have to offer," says Robert Waltl, Mini teater and all the other creators of the project. The desire to bring art and the energy of life from the theatre to the street is being successfully realised.

Križevniška Street is also lined with clever benches, designed for socialising and a pleasant chat, or just to rest and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Fascinated by the rich history of Križevniška Street, which was only 200 metres long and had been overlooked by many, Robert Waltl started discovering the interesting names of his new "former neighbours" as soon as the Mini teater arrived: From Prešeren, Kosovel, Linhart, Valvazor and Pregl to the painter Jelovšek, the sculptor Robba, the patron Blaž Chrobath and his daughter Luiza Pesyakova, Čop, Smole, Anna Jelovšek and Zois, who even hosted the Pope and Prince Metternich in his palace. Today's inhabitants of Križevniška are just as interesting and creative: Helena Koder, wife of the famous composer and musician Urban Koder, Aldo Kumar, Alan Hranitelj, to name but a few. Our neighbour at Križevniška 8 was also the poet Srečko Kosovel. He wrote his last poems here before he left for Tomaj, from wh ere he never returned. That is why in 2014, on the occasion of the celebration of the 110th anniversary of his birth, a refreshment of Križevniška Street was dedicated to Kosovel.

Robert Waltl, director of Mini teater, was also chosen as the name of the week on the radio Val 202 for the greening of Križevniška, the marathon of Kosovel's poems, for the occasion of the Night of the Book and all the "Križevniška" events in April 2014. "We try to work with our neighbours and for our neighbours. Križevniška may be one of the smallest streets in Ljubljana, but it is the one with the richest cultural history. On our street, Nobel Prize winner Franc Pregl had a house, France Prešeren met Anna Jelovšek here, Srečko Kosovel lived in the house of director Ciril Debevec. The street is a model example of the kind of Ljubljana I would like to see," he told for Val 202.

In addition to the excellent response fr om professional critics and the public, and the number of guest appearances at many prestigious festivals at home and abroad, the enviable thing is the quantity of our annual production, which, despite its numbers, cannot be accused of slipping into an uncreative rehashing of established and familiar theatrical approaches, even according to the professional assessments of the public. Most of our productions exude a creative desire to explore the boundaries of both puppetry and drama, and the entire programme is based on programme diversity, a well-thought-out age segmentation of the audience, a varied and high-quality selection of participating authors and artists, and a well-developed network of co-producers.

So what can we say at the end but - welcome to Mini teater! Whether you want to see a puppet show for children or a theatre show for adults. To a literary evening or a concert. A walk along one of the most beautiful streets of the Slovenian capital, Križevniška, wh ere you will find shade and benches to rest even on the hottest summer days. MI(NI)SMOMINI only with you.

We have built a new theatre - Building of Mini teater: 2008-2009

Photo: https://www.mini-teater.si/html/images/fotografije/S/dnevnik-ane-frank/dnevnik-ane-frank-21-v.jpg
Križevniška 1 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia
+386 1 425 60 60
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