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He will receive the top accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia at the closing ceremony of the 59th Maribor Theatre Festival, taking place in Maribor from 3 to 16 June 2024.

Branko Šturbej is one of the indispensable cornerstones of the repertoire not only of the Drama Ljubljana, but also of Slovenian drama theatre in the broadest sense of the word. A cursory glance at Šturbej’s cast list shows that his work in theatres with a permanent acting ensemble has been constantly complemented by his recurring and successful involvement in independent theatre projects, generally oriented towards exploring unchartered territories of acting profession. A closer look at his cast list also reveals that his body of work is astonishingly diverse, both in terms of genres and directorial poetics. In fact, it is the most recent two seasons, in which Šturbej has appeared in the roles of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Voynitski in Uncle Vanya, Emanuel Lehman in The Lehman Trilogy, and Malvolio in Twelfth Night, or What You Will, that accentuate, in a pars pro toto fashion, the remarkably profuse and wide-ranging pattern of his entire career.

It is no exaggeration to claim that Branko Šturbej ranks among the most versatile actors in Slovenian theatre. He has captivated audiences and critics alike since his debut at the Drama Ljubljana in the role of Son in On Foot by Mrožek, demonstrating his authentic youthful truthfulness and sizzling thespian energy, to the present day, with his inimitable and indefatigable acting and personal commitment, invested in his roles. 

His cast list includes virtually everything a modern actor could wish for; he was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Demetrius, Ferdinand and Macbeth; Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin; he appeared in many productions directed by Mile Korun; he portrayed intriguing characters in the plays by Plato, Molière, Schiller, Kleist, Gogol, Ibsen, Chekhov, Horváth, Feydeau, Genet, Albee and many others. He has created a range of impressive roles in plays by Slovenian authors (Linhart, Cankar, Strniša, Zajc, Grum, Šeligo, Smole, Jovanović, etc.) and has sympathetically embodied many characters of contemporary world drama, always with an equally convincing sense of the comic as well as the serious side of their and our struggles.

Branko Šturbej is adored by directors; many a cult production by Tomaž Pandur, Meta Hočevar, Mile Korun, Dušan Jovanović, Vito Taufer, Janusz Kica and many others would simply not exist or would be significantly different without his vital and crucial acting involvement. Recently, he has often worked, equally effectively, with directors of the youngest generation, impacting their productions both with his wide experience and his unique, relentlessly youthful and inexhaustible desire to explore the world and himself in it. Šturbej as Faust’s Mephisto (twice), Albee’s George (twice), Prokić’s Dante, Büchner’s Woyzeck, Calderón’s Sigismund, Kafka’s Karl Rossman, Josef K. and K., Brecht’s Matti, Musset’s Lorenzaccio, Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov and Wajda’s Raskolnikov, Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Levstik’s Tugomer and McPherson’s Brendan, to name but a few  ̶  his creations  for theatre and cinema have become part of Slovenian theatre and film history, and left indelible impressions in memories and hearts of the audience. 

This is substantiated by numerous national and international awards, bestowed by the audience and professional juries, starting with the Sever Award for Students in 1984 for Shakespeare’s Gloucester and Petruccio, to the most recent Borštnik Award in 2023 for the role of George in Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Mini Theatre.

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