Croatian director and actor, theoretician of puppetry, poet, dramatist, translator, researcher. Luko Paljetak graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Zadar where he was an assistant lecturer until 1978. He was awarded his PhD in 1992, and lives and works in Dubrovnik. As a student, he joined the theatre company Kazalište lutaka Zadar (Zadar Puppet Theatre) as an actor. In 1972, he directed Ružno pače (The Ugly Duckling) there, and, in 1979, Postojani kositreni vojnik (The Little Tin Soldier), both based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairly tales.

These productions marked a Copernican turn of events in Croatian puppetry as they treated the puppet as part of the visual stage whole, completely rejecting the dramaturgy of narration in favour of visual dramaturgy, and introducing film-like frame cuts as a dynamic principle in the animation of the show. Paljetak sublimated his expression as a director to “the demand for total animation, where an equal part in bringing the scene to life is played by the actors, and the lighting, and the music, and the puppets, and that which is still archaically termed the requisit or prop”.

Paljetak’s absorbing book, Lutke za kazalište i dušu (Puppets for Theatre and Soul), was published in 2007. It contains interesting theoretic and poetic analyses of the puppet being and the purpose of its aesthetic function.

Luko Paljetak has been an Honorary Member of UNIMA Internationale since 2004.

(See Croatia.)


  • Paljetak, Luko. Lutke za kazalište i dušu [Puppets for Theatre and Soul]. Zagreb: Međunarodni centar za usluge u kulturi, 2007.