Hungarian puppet builder and set designer. Iván Koós studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (1945-1950) in Budapest as a student of painters/artists, János Kmetty and István Szőnyi, but was most influenced by the grotesque expressionism of avant-garde Hungarian painter, Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry.

Koós’s first contact with puppetry was at the Nemzeti Bábszínjáték (National Puppetry Studio) founded and directed by István Rév. He worked as a builder of figures, as stage director and performer in the Aurora Puppet Troupe (later named Astra Bábegyüttes [lier]Astra Puppet Ensemble[/lier]). From 1953 to 1960, he taught at the Budapest Technical University Department of Architectural Engineering. From 1960, he was stage designer at the Állami Bábszínház (State Puppet Theatre) and, between 1992 and 1994, he was artistic director of the Budapest Bábszínház (Budapest Puppet Theatre). As stage and costume designer, he worked regularly with several theatres in Budapest and in the provinces, as well as in television. In 1995, he inaugurated the first puppetry class at the University of Theatre and Film Arts and he taught puppet design at the University of Fine Arts until his death.

Iván Kóos succeeded in blending popular Hungarian folklore and traditions, past and contemporary artistic styles, and both old and new puppetry techniques. He has often been featured in individual or group exhibitions in Hungary and internationally and, in addition to having received a silver medal at the 1979 Prague Quadriennale, he was twice awarded the Mari Jászai Prize (1967 and 1975). He was further distinguished with Artistic Honours and Excellence in 1982 and in 1987, followed by the Kossuth Prize in 1999.

Among the shows he worked on as stage designer are: Szentivánéji álom (1964), based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Petruska (1965) based on Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka; Jelenet szöveg nélkül (1966 and 1979), based on Samuel Beckett’s Act Without Words, I and II; János Vitéz (John the Brave, 1967) by Dezső Szilágyi after Sándor Petőfi; A kispolgár hét főbűne (1969), after Bertolt Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins; A pagodák hercege (The Prince of the Pagodas, 1970) by Benjamin Britten; Csongor és Tünde (Csongor and Tunde, 1974) by Mihály Vörösmarty; Strip-tease (1975) by Słavomir Mrożek; Háry János (1972) by Zoltán Kodály; A tűzmadár (The Firebird, 1982) of Stravinsky; Übü király (King Ubu, 1985), based on Ubu roi of Alfred Jarry; Vihar (1988), after Shakespeare’s The Tempest; A dzsungel könyve (1991) by Géza Balogh adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book; A varázsfuvola (The Magic Flute, 1995) by Mozart.

(See Hungary.)


  • Balogh, Géza, ed. Bábszínház, 1949-1999 [Puppet Theatre, 1949-1999]. With a study of Péter Molnár Gál. Budapest, 2000.
  • Passuth, Krisztina. Koós Iván. Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 1984.
  • Selmeczi, Elek. Világhódító bábok [Puppets Conquering the World]. Budapest, 1986.