Robe Holds the Strings at Ljubljana Puppet Theatre

Robe Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. Photo Louise Stickland

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (Lutkovno Gledališče Ljubljana) is famous for both puppet productions and live acting dramas, musicals, and other performance entertainments in and around its various spaces, which are also available for business events. The 200 capacity Saint Jacob’s (Šentjakobsko) Hall auditorium has recently re-opened after a complete 8-month renovation plan.

This latest technical upgrade has included the installation of 16 new Robe T1 LED Profile moving lights in the Saint Jacob’s (Šentjakobsko) Hall.

They join more recent Robe purchases across the venue’s other four performance spaces including The Tunnel which burrows into the hill beneath Ljubljana Castle and has 12 CycFX8s which are perfect for lighting the long corridor audience areas. The 180-seat St Jacob’s Stage, the Main Stage, Small Stage and the Stage Under the Stars located on the top floor with a glass roof up to the night skies all share 12 LEDBeam 150s and nine LEDWash 300+’s which can be moved around for different shows as needed.

The Robe fixtures were all selected by technical manager Jure Žnidaršič and his team, and based on their performance, features and the success of the theatre’s longer-term investments in Robe which started in 2011 with ColorSpot and ColorWash 250 luminaires which were specified by the LD for a puppet show that played on the Stage Under the Stars.

With the Saint Jacob’s (Šentjakobsko) Hall refurbishment, Jure and his colleagues knew that anything new needed to be LED, and they are adopting the technology for all the obvious reasons. In this instance, they specifically wanted a light with excellent additive colour mixing. Having seen the T1 Profiles in action during open days and other events and demonstrations organised by Robe’s Slovenian distributor, MK Light Sound, they were all confident that this was the right choice.

The T1 Profiles have already made a huge difference to how shows and performances can be lit. “The fixtures are quick to programme and bring a huge flexibility to the stage that we simply didn’t have before,” elucidated Jure, explaining that the theatre has stayed running as a covid-safe rehearsal space throughout most of the pandemic and has also been busy preparing various shows for when they fully re-open later in the summer.
Lighting is at the essence of any puppet show. It helps convey the narrative and creates numerous special effects making the figures come alive and assume their characters. It is as vital there as for live acting shows, and profile lights are equally important to both genres of performance as well, particularly as front light in puppet theatre.

“Profiles have to be super-accurate, reliable and return to the same positions every time without fail, and that’s why we chose the Robe T1s,” stated Jure, adding that Robe has proved a “stable and reliable” choice over several years, and they look forward to many more.

All the Robes have been delivered by Robe’s Slovenian distributor MK Light Sound, and Jure also mentions the “excellent” working relationship, service, and backup they have with the distributor as another good reason for selecting Robe.

In a standard year, Lutkovno Gledališče Ljubljana under the direction of Uroš Korenčan and creative direction of Ajda Rooss will stage around 1200 shows including 16 premiers. Around 900 will be puppet-based, approximately 200 will be standard drama / musical and another 100 will be corporates and events.

The theatre’s current building nestling at the bottom of the Ljubljana Castle hill was built in 1899 as a theatre and became home of Lutkovno Gledališče in 1984. It was very successful and grew massively, taking over the entire building in 2012, and it now supports a substantial operation.

The full working crew includes around 42 technicians working across all five stages, puppet, set, scenery, and costume workshops, plus all the commercial and administration staff and another 30 working actors and puppeteers.

The smallest puppets are 12 cm in height and perform on a 20 by 30 cm mobile stage … which is in addition to the five somewhat larger fixed performance spaces!

Lutkovno Gledališče is a much-loved – locally and internationally – element of Slovenia’s vibrant capital city’s cultural fabric, and right at the heart of its community.

Even during the pandemic, they have delivered around 900 puppet performances as school tours around Slovenia have continued, and in May the Theatre re-opened with “The Wizard of Oz” directed by Yulia Roschina with lighting by Jaka Varmuž, which is also the first production playing back in the Saint Jacob’s (Šentjakobsko) Hall and using the new Robe T1 Profiles.