Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia Nina Obuljen Koržinek appointed Dora Ruždjak Podolski the new Artistic Director of the Festival on August 30.
Dora Ruždjak Podolski was born in 1971 in Zagreb, where she graduated from the Classical Grammar School and the School of Rhythmics and Dance. She later studied Latin and Greek, and graduated in theatrical direction and radiophony in 1997. Ruždjak Podolski has directed around seventy theatrical, operetta and opera projects, including Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Traviata (Verdi), Tragedy of the Brains (Kamov), Chicago (Kander - Fosse - Ebb), The Soldier's Tale (Stravinsky - Ramuz), Beauty and the Beast (Woolverton - Rice - Ashman), La Boheme (Puccini), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare), Woman Bomb (Sajko), Acis and Galatea (Handel), Tales of Ordinary Madness (Zelenka), Carmen (Bizet), Cabaret (Masteroff - Ebb - Kander), Regoč (I. B. Mažuranić), Dorothy Gale (Zajec), Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), Amadeus (Schaffer), Posljednji dani mira (Vidić) and Črna mati zemla (Novak – Zajec). She has directed at the Croatian National Theatres of Zagreb, Split, Osijek and Rijeka, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Komedija City Theatre, the Trešnja City Theatre, the Zagreb Youth Theatre and the Gavella Dramatic Theatre, as well as in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Russia and Canada.
In 2001, she co-founded the Association of Frustrated Theatre Directors (KUFER) with Franka Perković, aimed at promoting young artists, directors, actors, dancers and choreographers. From 2012, they have been the leaders of the Ruždjak & Perković Art Organisation (RUPER). Dora Ruždjak Podolski awards include the Goran Young Poets Prize, the Best Direction Award for The Steadfast Tin Soldier at the Naj, Naj Festival (2006) and the Croatian Theatre Awards for her direction of Chicago (2004), Beauty and the Beast (2008) and Madame Buffault (2015). She has written a book of poetry entitled Šetač and a libretto for the opera Komorni trio by Olja Jelaska. Together with the theatre director Saša Božić, she wrote the text Rent a Friend (the ASSITEJ Award for the best dramatic text, 2012). She has directed prize winning ceremonies the Crni Mačak Award, the Porin Discography Award, the Croatian Theatre Award, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival Opening Ceremony and the Croatia Joins the EU Ceremony. The projects of the three art academies and the TTF - The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, The Nightingale, Madame Buffault and Agrippina – which she headed and directed, won her five Special Rector's Awards (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016), while her The Magic Flute and La Boheme (the Croatian National Theatre of Split) won the Milka Trnina Award. The plays Rent a Friend, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast and Cabaret won the Croatian Theatre Award in the Best Play Category. From 2009 -2012, she served as the Dubrovnik Summer Festival's Theatre Programme Director. Dora Ruždjak Podolski teaches acting at the Zagreb Academy of Music and Zagreb Academy of Theatre Art.