Bulgarian stage director, actor and theatre manager. A graduate in acting and directing for the puppet theatre from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Art (now, Natsionalna akademia za teatralni i filmovi izkustva (NATFA), National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts) in Sofia, Zlati Zlatev was in the first class of puppeteers led by Atanas Ilkov and Nikolina Georgieva.

Zlati Zlatev was theatre manager and director of the Durzhaven kuklen teatur Varna (State Puppet Theatre Varna, 1966-1983, 1992-2006) and theatre manager of the Durzhaven kuklen teatur Sliven (State Puppet Theatre Sliven, 1983-1992).

He has around seventy productions to his credit. His most innovative productions of the 1970s and early 1980s are Dama pika (The Queen of Spades, 1973) by Pushkin, Slunchogledcheto (The Sunflower, 1976), and Liubov, Liubov (Love, Love, 1980), based on Boccaccio’s The Decameron. These productions include giant visual installations created by the designer Ivan Tzonev. Zlatev also brought together onstage the live actor and the puppet, another innovation of this period. Among his many other productions are Veselite petli (The Merry Roosters), Maximka, Slaveiat i Rosata (The Nightingale and the Rose), Nai-shtastliviat chovek (The Happiest Man), Malkiat princ (The Little Prince), Novite prikliuchenia na BUBU (Booboo’s New Adventures), Kose Bose, Kopche za sun (A Button for Sleep), Ura za Tuta Karson i Liudvik IV (Hurrah for Tuta Karson and Ludwig IV).

A number of Bulgarian theatre companies have performed Zlatev’s productions in England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Greece, Algeria, Iran, Turkey, India, Japan, Mexico, and Cuba. Zlatev was also director of several editions of the Golden Dolphin International Puppet Theatre Festival held in Varna, Bulgaria.

Zlati Zlatev is the recipient of many national and festival awards, including the Cyril and Methodius Order, The Golden Badge as well as annual awards for directing from the Union of Bulgarian Actors, the Varna Prize, and in 2000 he received the Award of the Ministry of Culture.

(See Bulgaria.)