Maribor's Lutkovno Gledališče (Puppet Theatre) sits on the fabulous site of an old Minorite monastery dating back to 1271, nestling down by the Drava River in Slovenia's picturesque second city.
The transformation into the bustling performance space is a meticulously stylish integration of contemporary cool with ecclesiastical history offering a main performance space (Veliki Oder) for 273 children and 182 adults. It was completed four years ago and this summer a brand new exterior Letni Auditorium was added to the back of the building, complete with seating for 522 people.
In a streak of design genius, the outdoor auditorium and the indoor theatre share the same stage space - accessed via a large set of roller shutter doors that open up between the two spaces.
The venue also has a smaller performance space - Mali Oder - for 72 children or 48 adults.
The theatre’s lighting rig currently features 37 Robe fixtures.
Many had been pre-specified by the time Technical Director Jason Smith arrived on the scene four years ago, but this proved a decision he was very happy with.
The original kit included seven ColorSpot 575E ATs, eight ColorWash 575E AT Zooms, four REDWash 236s and eight ColorMix 250s. Following this, they bought another two REDWashes, and more recently the newest Robe flightcases started arriving on site - delivered by installers TSE d.o.o. from Robe's Slovenian distributor MK Light Sound to service the new outdoor stage.
For the opening of the new outdoor auditorium, five ColorSpot 1200E AT Profiles - with the framing shutters - two DigitalSpot 7100DTs and one more ColorWash 575E AT were added to the lighting / visual equipment inventory."For the outdoor venue we really needed powerful, reliable moving lights and also a unit with shutters. We were keen to keep the continuity of Robe and also because we were delighted with the performance of the other Robes,” explains Smith.
Lutkovno Gledališče will often stage around seven productions a week – last year’s total was 340 shows between the two venues - so any lighting fixtures in here can expect to work hard!
The Letni Auditorium will also host a number of visiting productions this summer starting with the three week LENT Jazz and Music festival in June / July where it is one of the major venues. Apart from that, one of Lutkovno Gledališče’s own morning shows is there playing most days, fulfilling their primary remit to provide puppet theatre for the children of the city, although the schedule will also include crossover adult shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
"I am really happy to be working with all these Robe fixtures,” says Smith who is originally from Canada and has also studied Scenography in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands before coming to Slovenia, which is now his home.
He works with a technical crew of five and a workshop staff of four who create the elaborate puppets which are full of real character and come to life onstage. There are also eight full time actors in the company, so about 25 in total plus the puppets!
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