Romanian puppet theatre director and educator. Cristian Pepino studied directing at the IATC (Institutul de Artă Teatrală și Cinematografică Institute of Theatre Arts and Cinematography, which became the UNATC Universitatea Naţională de Artă Teatrală şi Cinematografică, National University of Theatre Arts and Cinematography). He began his career in the puppet theatre of Bacău, invited by Petre Valter, manager and stage director, where Pepino directed Aventurile unei vrăjitoare (The Adventures of the Witch, 1973).
Cristian Pepino collaborated with theatres across the country with such productions as Metamorfoze (Metamorphoses, 1980), stage designed by Eugenia Tărăşescu-Jianu in Constanța; Secretul pădurii bătrâne (The Secret of the Old Forest), based on Dino Buzatti, designed by Irina Borowski in Ploieşti. From 1986 to 1998, Pepino created at Ţăndărică Puppet Theatre (Teatrul de animaţie Ţăndărică), William Shakespeare’s Visul unei nopți de vară (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1988), designed by Mircea Nicolau. In a collaborative programme between Ţăndărică and the Puppetry Department at UNATC, he staged several shows with the students: Conferința păsărilor (The Conference of the Birds, 1993) by Farid Udin Attar; Sânziana și Pepelea (Sânziana and Pepelea, 1994), designed by Delia Ioaniu; Motanul încălțat (Puss in Boots, 1996); Pasărea albastră (The Blue Bird, 1998) by Maurice Maeterlinck; Regele Cerb (The King Stag, 1998) by Carlo Gozzi, in collaboration with designer Cristina Pepino. Working together, they surprised audiences with their humour, use of composite puppets, and the presence of visible puppeteers.
Cristian Pepino’s corpus of work is prolific. His career is distinguished by the many prizes he has received in Romania and abroad, among them: the Festival of Zagreb awards (1981 and 1982, the Special Jury Award); four ATM awards (Asociația Oamenilor de Teatru și Muzică Association of Theatre and Music) for best production (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988); the award for direction for Candide at the International Puppet Festival in Prague staged with Ţăndărică (2008); and the award for direction for Pinocchio, received at the Festivalul Golden Magnolia in Shanghai, China, staged with Teatrul pentru copii și tineret Colibri (Colibri Puppet Theatre of Craiova, 2010). In 2009, he received the title of Doctor honoris causa of the Szentgyorgy Istvan University of Arts in Târgu-Mureş, Romania.
Cristian Pepino has written many plays for puppet theatre and radio and is the author of several books: Automate, idoli, păpuși: magia unei lumi (Automata, Idols, and Puppets: A World of Magic, Éditions Alma, 1998); Dicţionarul teatrelor de păpuşi, marionete şi animaţie din România (The Dictionary of Romanian Puppet, Marionette and Animation Theatres, Ed. Ghepardul, Bucureşti, 2001); Tehnica teatrului de animaţie (The Technical Aspects of Animation Theatre, UNATC Press, Bucureşti, 2005); Tehnologii digitale în spectacolul de animaţie (Digital Techniques in Animation Theatre, UNATC Press, Bucureşti, 2005); De la video la virtual – imaginea în spectacolul contemporan (From Video to the Virtual – The Image in the Contemporary Theatre, UNATC Press, Bucureşti, 2007); Regia spectacolului de animaţie (Staging in Animation Theatre, UNATC Press, Bucureşti, 2007); and the translation in Hungarian of his book: Tehnica teatrului de animaţie under the title, Az animációs színház technikája (Editura Universitatii de Arte Szentgyorgy Istvan, Târgu-Mureş, 2010).
Cristian Pepino is currently a university professor at UNATC (Universitatea Naţională de Artă Teatrală şi Cinematografică) and was head of the Puppetry Department at UNATC since its founding in 1990 until 2009.