Slovene actor, puppeteer, director, artistic manager. After finishing his studies at the Academy for Theatre (AGRFT) in Ljubljana, in 1989 Robert Waltl joined the Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana (Ljubljana Puppet Theatre) as an actor and puppeteer. In 1991, he joined the independent puppet group Freyer Teater in Ljubljana. He wrote Osel nazarenski (The Donkey of Nazareth, 1996), which has been presented at more than a dozen international festivals. In 1999, Waltl and his friend Ivica Buljan established a private theatre, Mini Teater Ljubljana, where he is artistic manager, actor and director.

Some of his best-known creations are his solo-shows: Čudovite prigode vajenca Hlapiča (The Wonderful Adventures of Apprentice Hlapič), Žabji kralj (The Frog King), Kalif štork (Caliph Stork), Srečni princ (The Happy Prince), and his adaptation of Noč čisto blizu gozdov (The Night Just Before the Forests) by B.M. Koltes. Waltl has directed more than fifty shows, half of them with puppets, in his own theatre and in various theatres in Croatia (Zagreb, Osijek and Split), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar), and elsewhere. His adaptations of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm have been particularly successful. Among these, the most important is Thumbelina, one of the earliest virtual puppet productions, which demonstrated new possibilities for contemporary puppet theatre.

Many of his productions and solo shows have been presented at international festivals in Austria, Croatia, Poland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Belarus, Russia, Hungary, Iran, Pakistan, Armenia, Venezuela and France. He and his productions have received international awards at Eurofest in Słupsk (Poland) and in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), as well as the Prix of the Union of the Croatian Artists and the Award of the City of Ljubljana (Slovenia).

International recognition of Waltl’s scenic expression influenced many younger directors to explore new possibilities in contemporary puppet art. Robert Waltl created an international project which facilitated collaboration and the exchange of puppet artists from different European countries and Armenia. He has also organized a number of international festivals, the most popular of which is Mini Summer, regularly held each summer in Ljubljana.

(See Slovenia.)