Bulgarian director. Having graduated in 1966 from the Department of Puppetry at the National Academy of Theatre and Film (VITIZ/NATFIZ), today, the Natsionalna akademia za teatralni i filmovi izkustva (NATFA), (National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts), Sofia, in the first class of puppeteers led by Atanas Ilkov and Nikolina Georgieva, Yana Tzankova took over as head of the Durzhaven kuklen teatur Plovdiv (State Puppet Theatre Plovdiv) from 1966 to 1979. She conducted classes for puppeteers from 1979 to 1983 at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts.
Interested in all puppetry techniques, Yana Tzankova staged Le Moment des fleurs nommées soucis (1973) with string puppets, Lubopitnoto slonche (The Inquisitive Elephant, 1974) as shadow theatre, Kak Petrushka se Ojeni (How Petrushka Got Married, 1976) with masks, Kose Bose (1978) with everyday objects, Kopche za Sun (A Button for Dreams (1979) with children’s old dolls.
From 1979, she worked at the Stolichen kuklen teatur (Sofia Central Puppet Theatre) where she continued her research of original works, notably with Ragazza (1981), created from caricatures drawn on clothing, and Princesata i ehoto (The Princess and the Echo, 1981) with puppets made of wood and fabric and costumes that transformed and became scenic elements. Other noted productions created by Tzankova include: Kotarakut v chizmi (Puss in Boots, 1987), with shadows; Trite mravki (The Three Aunts, 1993), with grotesque masks and puppets; Tragediyata na Makbet (The Tragedy of Macbeth, 1996), using street puppetry, masks and actors; Petrushka (2001), performed to the music of Igor Stravinsky, which combined masks, costumes and puppets. These shows are but a small representation of her exceptionally rich repertoire of productions.
Yana Tzankova is the recipient of many prestigious awards in the field of Bulgarian puppetry arts, including the Golden Dolphin of the International Puppet Theatre Festival of Varna.