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The Ugly Duckling, A new direction by Robert Waltl in Mostar!




Robert Waltl is one the most awarded director of theatre pieces for a young audience, which he creates in Croatia, BiH, Belarus, Belgium, Montenegro and Slovenia. He is a particularly devoted interpreter of stories by Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, Svetlana Makarovič and Hans Christian Andersen. In the Mostar Puppet Theatre he has so far directed The Puss in Jeans, by Enes Kišević and The Hedgehog's House, by Brnako Čopić. His pieces are distinguishable by music and dance dramaturgy, a dynamic rhythm and visual exuberance.

The young and successful Croatian playwright Ivor Matinić wrote a brand new text based on the Anderson story, staying true to the original, while bringing it closer to the contemporary viewer.

The wonderful songs for the performance are by Olja Savičević Ivančević, arranged by Nikša Mandalinić and Aleksandar Antić of the Split-based band TBF.

The author of all the puppets and the stage set design is Robert Smolik from Prague.

Starring in the role of the Ugly Duckling is the young Igor Vidačković, and alongside him an excellent team of  actors and animators - Nedžad Maksumić, Diana Ondelj Maksumić, Sergio Radoš and Nermina Denjo.



The Andersen story of an ugly duckling, who was attacked by all - his brothers, geese, hunters, dogs and farmers – until they were left standing in awe, as he grew up to transform into a swan, has been reworked by the young writer Ivor Martinić, into a contemporary text for the youngest audience. Directed by Robert Waltl, it becomes a dynamic performance, of intense visual strength, a myriad wonderful songs and graced by excellent animation by experienced puppet masters from Mostar.

Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling is one of the most popular children's tales of all time. The story of an unaccepted duckling who, due to his peculiar appearance, is avoided by his brothers, neighbours, the whole duck village and even his own mother, turns into a painful search for identity. After leaving home, the duckling enters a world where he is laughed at by geese, attacked by hunters, dogs, a cat and a hen, and where he is almost adopted by farmers, until he comes upon some beautiful swans and is finally convinced that their bevy is where he belongs.

Psychologists claim the obstacles faced by the Ugly Duckling on his way, serve to strengthen a child's character and ease contact with the cruelties of the real world.


Text: Ivor Martinić, after Hans Christian Andersen
Director: Robert Waltl

Music: Nikša Mandalinić and Aleksandar Antić (TBF)

Song lyrics: Olja Savičević Ivančević

Puppets and stage set design: Robert Smolik

Assistant director: Nedžad Maksumić
Light and sound: Amer Ćatić
Stage set construction: Mirsad Bijedić
Technician: Kasim Prguda



Ugly duckling: Igor Vidačković

Mother duck / Old woman: Diana Ondelj Maksumić

Chattering duck / Duckling 1 / Hen: Nermina Denjo

The Old duck / Wild gander 2 / Dog: Nedžad Maksumić

Duckling 2 / The Spanish Duck / Wild gander 1 / Cat: Serđo Radoš


The performance was created as a coproduction between Pozorište lutaka Mostar (Mostar Puppet Theatre) and the Mini teater Ljubljana, as part of the international European project Puppet Nomad Academy 3, co-financed by the European Commission, under the Culture programme (2007 – 2013).




Coordinator: Mini teater, Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Co-organizers: Novo Kazalište Zagreb (Croatia), Figuren Theater Vlinders&Co (Belgium), Teatro Neline (Slovakia), Eesti Riiklik Nukuteater - Estonian State Puppet Theatre (Estonia), Maladype Theatre (Hungary), Pozorište Iutaka Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Otvoreni Univerzitet Subotica (Serbia).

The main goal of the project is the cooperation of the best masters of puppetry from Estonia, Croatia, Belgium, Slovakia and Slovenia with young artists from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary. Our goal is to enable young artists from all the partner countries to contribute new experiences to the field of puppetry and thereby create new performances, using new technologies such as virtual puppetry, 3D technique …

We want this project to connect the best artists from all of the 8 cooperating countries, achieving great results and implementing new technologies in the field of puppetry by the exchange of international experiences.

The results of the project will bring greater mobility of artists and the results of their work, such as performances, workshops, classes, exhibitions...

The project will also implement activities, which incorporate the themes of the European year of active aging and intergenerational solidarity.


The Puppet Nomad Academy 3 is financially supported by the European Commission, programme Culture (2007-2013). This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.