Who we are

Arte Urbana Collectif Logo

Arte Urbana Collectif (Project Leader) 

Arte Urbana Collectif is an artistic collective based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The collective was created in 2016 by Ralitsa Assenova and Dimitar Uzunov who later were joined by other artists and cultural managers. The collective organises various cultural events such as festivals, theatre productions, workshops, master classes and other educational forums in Bulgaria. It aims to create an international artistic and cultural dynamic in the country.

Arte Urbana Collectif is a partner of several EU funded projects such as CURIOUS for performing arts – science collaborations (see 1.3), INDCOR – exploring the use of interactive digital narratives (see 1.3), CinEd – for cinema education with youngsters, WOMED – promoting women filmmakers, Cinéma cent ans de jeunesse – production of short-movies by youngsters; and others. The organisation founded in 2017 the platform Theatre & Science for exploring and producing performing arts science stage collaborations. Since then AUC has produced seven art science theatre productions and numerous workshops and summer schools on the topic. In 2021 in Sofia was organised the premier edition of the festival Theatre of Wonder – the first festival in Bulgaria dedicated entirely on performing arts science artistic collaborations. In October 2022 Arte Urbana Collectif organised the second edition of the festival.

Arte Urbana Collectif will rely on and transfer their large practical experience and deep knowledge in the domain of performing arts science collaborations to the other project partners. The organisation possesses very good experience participating in different types of EU co-funded projects and is confident enough to be a leader of Please ASK! The organisation will rely on their extensive experience in organising summer schools as they will use their highly successful Summer Scriptwriting Base as a model for the summer school in Please ASK.

LINK TO ARTE URBANA COLLECTIF’S WEBSITE: https://arteurbanacollectif.com/

Pp Logo Black 512

Pro Progressione

Pro Progressione is a Budapest-based artistic hub that connects people, professions, and ambitions by designing international collaborations in the field of culture. From this combination, creative ideas emerge – artists, cultural activists, scientists, and experts of various fields meet and give cutting-edge answers for the questions of our age.

LINK TO PRO PROGRESSIONE’S WEBSITE: https://proprogressione.com/

Dafa Puppet Theatre Logo

Dafa Puppet Theatre

Dafa Puppet Theatre is a Czech-based multi-awarded puppet theatre company based in Prague, Czech Republic. It was co-founded in 2015 and is co-run by Husam Abed, a director, puppeteer, and musician, and Reka Deak, a puppeteer and stage designer, both of whom are graduates of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU)/Czechia.

Since its establishment Dafa has created many performances for children and adults and is invited on a regular basis to take part at international festivals in Europe, South East Asia, and across the Arab world. In their performances, Dafa combines principles of puppetry, devised, “alternative” theatre, physical theatre, music, and multimedia design to build new and exciting productions based on both fiction and documented history. The company regularly collaborates with multidisciplinary artists in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Dafa also produces multi-genre performance festivals, animation, and puppet films. The company co-founded the LIV’in festival in Prague and Ya Khayal Theatre Lab for refugees and local youth in Amman, Jordan. They also offer international theatre residencies for children and adults.

Dafa Puppet Theatre’s internationally acclaimed show Smooth Life debuted in 2014. It has been performed over 200 times across three continents, including at prominent cultural venues and at puppet and theatre festivals in Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Jordan, Austria, Norway, India, Egypt, Macao, the Czech Republic, and Poland, where it received two Jury distinctions for original artistic concepts. The company’s most recent production is War Maker has been performed as a work-in-progress in the Czech Republic and toured in 2022 in Europe and in the United States. Dafa Puppet Theatre has collaborated with Dr. Aurel Gabris, co-founder of Czech Quantum. In collaboration with Atelier Libusin, Dafa co-founder Reka Deak directed a short quantum that was shortlisted at Quantum shorts competition in Singapore in 2020.

Dafa is a partner in several EU co-funded projects such as In Memoriam, exploring visual expression based on using objects, materials, bodies and personal memories, The V4-SAP – Fostering Social Art Practices (SAP) in the Visegrad countries focusing on Socially Engaged Theatre, Perform Europe Embodied Temporalities, focusing on Tracing the memories our bodies hold from diasporic, decolonial and queer perspective.

Dafa founded Ya Khayyal Theatre Lab. for youth in Jordan in 2019. This Summer Theatre Lab. is designed to bring theatre and puppetry practitioners European and Arab to share and exchange with Arab youth. Dafa also is a partner in the Objects without borders project, Exploring how objects connect across borders, boundaries and difference. The project is a continuous practice-based research project started in 2021, funded partly by Bath Spa University / UK, with partners: Wattle and Daub/UK, Theatre Orchard/UK, Sam the artist/UK and Seenaryo/Jordan, producer: Rachel McNally.

Dafa Puppet Theatre will share their innovative and creative methods in the domain of Visual Storytelling, Social Art practices, Art Science, Alternative and Puppet and Object Theatre to other partners.

LINK TO DAFA PUPPET THEATRE’S WEBSITE: https://dafatheater.com/

Qworld Logo

QWorld Association 

QWorld Association is a non-profit global organization that brings quantum computing researchers & enthusiasts together. Our main goal is to popularize quantum technologies and software. Also, through education and skill development opportunities, QWorld is training the next generation of quantum scientists. They conduct their activities within five departments. 


The Fence Logo

The Fence 

The Fence is an international network for working playwrights and people who make playwriting happen – across Europe and beyond. As of March 2022, the network comprises 263 members from 57 countries. The Fence will help the dissemination of the project outcomes by including a session dedicated on Please ASK! during one of their annual network meetings in 2024.

LINK TO THE FENCE’S  WEBSITE: http://www.the-fence.net/

Dolna Mitropolia Logo

Dolna Mitropolia Municipality

Dolna Mitropoliya Municipality (Bulgarian: Община Долна Митрополия) is a municipality in Pleven Province, Northern Bulgaria. It embraces a territory of 674.81 km2. The administrative centre of the area is the homonymous town of Dolna Mitropoliya.

LINK TO THE MUNICIPALITY’S WEBSITE: http://dolnamitropolia.bg

Milena Georgieva


Milena Georgieva is a Professor of Molecular Biology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Co-Founder/Chief Scientific Officer at EPIX.AI, which merges epigenetics and AI for personalized longevity. She has expertise in molecular biology, genetics, epigenetics, and longevity, with training from the Curie Institute, University of Strasbourg, and the International Research Centre for Bioengineering. Milena co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and led numerous research projects. She consults for the International Enago Academy, advises the LifeSaver project under EU Horizon 2020, and is a Health Expert at AcrossLimits. As an honorary member of the Advisory Board of M3 Communications Group, Inc., she bridges science and communication. A TED speaker, she engages with global audiences through lectures, festivals, and media. Milena belongs to the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria, the European Federation of Biochemical Societies, and the International Union of Clinical Epigenetics.

Dr Vladimir Bozhilov

Dr. Vladimir Bozhilov / Bulgaria

Dr. Vladimir Bozhilov holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy since 2014. He is currently Head Assistant Professor at the Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physics at Sofia University, Bulgaria. Dr. Bozhilov is a Horizon 2020 National Contact Point for the “Science with and for Society” Programme (since 2017) and currently also serves as Public Relations Expert at the Bulgarian National Science Fund. Dr. Bozhilov’s main scientific interests are active galactic nuclei (AGN) – quasars and blazars at high redshift, cosmology, exoplanets and habitability. He teaches the M.Sc. Courses “Science Communication in Astronomy” and “Practical Science Communication in Astronomy” in the innovative interdisciplinary Master program “Astronomy and Popularization of Astronomy” at the Faculty of Physics, University of Sofia.

Rl Foto


Lajos Rózsa is a senior researcher at the Institute of Evolution, HUN-REN Centre for Ecological Research, Budapest. His scientific interest is diverse. He publishes studies on the evolution, ecology, and behavior in host-parasite systems, Darwinian medicine (health and disease interpreted within an evolutionary-ecological context), and biological weapons and warfare history.
Lajos previously taught at several Hungarian universities and has been an invited lecturer at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, for the past seven years. He has published popular science papers and books and regularly makes presentations at the annual Science Day events in Satu Mare, Romania.

Aurél Gábris

Aurél Gábris / The Czech Republic – Hungary

Aurél Gábris is deputy head of the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, holds a part-time position at the Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Budapest, and functions as the chair of the QWorld Association, a global non-profit organisation. Aurél has been an active researcher in quantum technologies for more than 20 years. He is dedicated to leverage his expertise to develop an open and thriving quantum ecosystem in the Czech Republic and world-wide, engaging in and organizing events targeting the general public, and bringing together stakeholders from academia, industry and government. Aurél has extensive publication history in the field of quantum optics and quantum simulations, his works have received over 1,500 citations. He is a work package leader in the DigiQ project, which is the EU Quantum Flagship’s effort to boost quantum technology education at master’s level. At the CTU he is participating in the development of a master’s programme in quantum informatics.

Andrea Brunello © Monique Foto Lr Jpg

Andrea Brunello – Director and Scriptwriter / Italy

Playwright, director, actor and podcaster, Andrea Brunello works at the boundary between theatre and science. He is a graduate of the three year program “SAT – SCHOOL AFTER THEATRE advanced training program” led by the Russian director Jurij Alschitz and affiliated with the EATC/Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS) of Moscow (Russia). Andrea holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Physics from Stony Brook University (New York) and a Master in Communication of Science and Innovation from the University of Trento (Italy).
Andrea teaches science storytelling theory and practice at the Master in Communication of Science and Innovation and at the Physics Department of the University of Trento (Italy) and at the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Bologna.
He is the founder and director of the Portland Theatre of Trento and of the Arditodesìo Company and he is the artistic director of Teatro della Meraviglia, a science theatre festival held annually in Trento. 
Andrea is member of the scientific committee of “Theatre about Science – International Conference” (Coimbra, Portugal) and of the board of directors of EUSEA – the European Science Engagement Association.

Szivák Tóth Viktor


Writer, director, theater education specialist Viktor Szivák-Tóth creates primarily in the field of community theater, he is active in almost all its fields. He worked with Kerekasztal, KÁVA, RÉV, Szkéné, MU Színház, Pesti Magyar Színház, Soltis Lajos Színház, Apertúra Társulat, Láthatáron Group, Hungarian State Folk Ensemble and Vekker Műhely. His parent company is KB35, his base is the Szkéné Rakpart3 workshop. In addition, he mainly organizes complex theatrical educational performances, which are mostly written by him, but his all-night productions can also be seen.
“I’m interested in all forms of community theater. Either I create theater performances with existing or emerging communities, or I create participatory theater productions for them. The theater creates a community, and the community needs to express itself and its relationship to the world – also in public space. I have been lucky enough to meet people of all ages, from six years old to the elderly.”

Reka Deak

Řeka Deak  / The Czech Republic

Reka Deak is a versatile social artist, actress, director, puppeteer, and scenographer, with over a decade of professional practice as a puppeteer, director, stage designer and facilitator. She is a co-founder of the multi-awarded company Dafa Puppet Theatre. She holds a Master’s in directing for contemporary theatre at the Academy of Arts in Targu Mures/RO. She attended the Stage Design program for Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU, under the guidance of Rober Smolik in 2013/2014. She is undertaking a PhD at Charles University / CZ researching intimacy and cultural family houses in the Czech Republic with doc. Mgr. Martin Pšenička, Ph.D as mentor. Her shows are invited to international festivals in Europe, South East Asia and Arab World.

Dimitar Uzunov

Dimitar Uzunov – artistic director of Arte Urbana / Bulgaria

Dimitar Uzunov holds BA and MA in Applied Theatre Studies from University Paris 8 and BS and MS degree in Geology from University of Sofia. He also studied acting, theatre directing and theatre management in Brooklyn College (City University of New York). In 2008 he founded Famille Mundi theatre company in Paris in which he has worked with artists from more than 20 countries. Dimitar Uzunov and Famille Mundi twice received the label Young Talent of Paris delivered by Paris Municipality. Dimitar is also founder and director of Summer Scriptwriting Base, an immersive international summer school for the storytellers of tomorrow. He is the founder of the platform Theatre & Science and more recently coordinator of the European project Please ASK for producing science theatre, linking artists with scientists. Dimitar is a director of Theatre of Wonder – Bulgaria, festival for art and science.
Dimitar Uzunov has authored, directed and acted in many theatre productions in France, USA and Bulgaria. He has been lecturing and mentoring on various topics (creative storytelling, digital storytelling, site-specific and immersive storytelling, AI and storytelling, creation of sci-fi and fantasy storyworlds, thriller and mystery genres, pitching, public speaking and theatre creation) in more than 20 countries around the world.

Nikola Gruev Ph Цветелина Белутова

Nikola Gruev / Bulgaria

Nikola Gruev’s (Kottarashky) musical career began 15 years ago with the release of his debut album “Opa Hey” for the German record label Asphalt Tango Records (reached third place in the prestigious European ranking “World Music Charts Europe”). The album quickly attracted the attention of music journalists in Europe and received positive reviews in media such as The Guardian, The Independent, BBC and others. In 2010 he formed the band Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs, with whom he released three more albums on the same Berlin-based label. More than 200 live performances followed, including Roskilde (Denmark), EXIT (Serbia), WOMEX (Greece) and La Rochelle (France). In 2022 he founded a brand new band in a completely different musical style called Kottarashky & The Preachers. Kottarashky also composes film music – he is the composer of the music for the short animated film “Blind Vaisha” by Teodor Ushev, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2017, as well as several other feature films and documentaries.
Studio albums with Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs: “Opa Hey” (2009), “Demoni” (2012), “Cats, Dogs and Ghosts” (2016), “Doghouse” (2022), 
Studio albums with Kottarashky & The Preachers: “Reconstruction of Speech” (2024)

Nikola Nalbantov

Nikola Nalbantov / Bulgaria

Nikola Nalbantov holds a MFA in Set Design: Visual Performance program from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. Winner of Icarus Award for Scenography in 2010 for the set design of “The Wicked Man” from the Four Rooms Project. Winner together with Evgenia Serbeva in 2010 of a prize from the international competition “eDward – The Young Filmmaker’s Award” for the 3D movie “… Priceless …” In 2013, he is nominated, together with Elena Shopova, for the Icarus Award for Scenography for “Protext 5: On Time” visual environment. He has been set designer and video-artist of many theatre and dance performances – “Carnival.com”, “Jump”, “Madam Mishima”, “Pandora”. He is the set designer & videoartist of Arte Urbana Collectif’s productions “George Kaplan”, “The Long Way to the Stars”, “How to Become Einstein in One Hour?” and “The Synthetic Man”.
More at nikolanalbantov.com

Stefaniya Georgieva Photographer Ivan Alexander Kyutev


Stefaniya is a Bulgarian choreographer, performer, founder, and artistic director of ATOM Theatre company and ATOM Choreographic Series platform. Stefaniya graduated with a BA in Puppetry from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria. Later on, she graduated with a master’s degree in Contemporary Dance Techniques from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Currently, she is a house choreographer at the State Theatre in Shumen, Bulgaria, and works as a movement director for various theatrical productions. Stefaniya’s professional choreographic debut was in 2013. Since then, she has created multiple artworks presented in Bulgaria, across Europe, and South Korea. 

Hristijana Stoimenova / Bulgaria

Hristijana Stoimenova, based in Bulgaria and fluent in English and German, has been a professional actress for over ten years. She began acting in theatre and TV at age 9. Since 2021, she has developed DigitalArtCulture, a platform to support young audio-visual artists in Bulgaria. Since 2017, she has performed in various independent productions such as “We, the Geraks,” “Dreamer-a,” “Welcome to Bulgaria,” and “Dance of Death.” She made her film debut in 2021 with “Goodbye, Johnny.” In addition to acting, she also hosts events, book launches, and online shows.

Bíró Dorottya

Dorottya Biró / Hungary

I graduated as a drama instructor at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in 2023. Since then I have been looking for learning and teaching methods that truly focus on individual growth.
I have been involved in several projects where participants have learned through co-thinking and exploring, whether it is about compulsory literature or an important public issue. I work with adults and children using the tools of Theatre in Education. Each time I am convinced about how much these forms help us to express and embrace our thoughts and emotions, to learn new things about ourselves and our environment.

Podmaniczky Dorottya


Born in Budapest, she is a versatile creator and performer with a background in contemporary dance and circus. She is open to innovative approaches to site-specific performances like the “Together Circus Invitation” in Greece and Hungary. Currently, she shares her art globally through teaching and contributes to collaborative site-specific projects like “Circus Caravana” with Visegrad 4 countries.
Her lifelong fascination with biology, space, and geometry, combined with her love for dance, propels her creative endeavors. She thrives on pushing artistic boundaries while combining dance with circus and physical theater. The Please ASK! collaborative project allows her to draw inspiration from nature’s moving forms alongside fellow artists. It is important for her to promote a deeper understanding of nature, inviting audiences into an interdisciplinary world of art and science.


Napsugár Trömböczki / HUNGARY

Napsugár Trömböczki (they/them) is a transdisciplinary theatre maker, drama instructor, puppeteer. She works as an independent artist in horizontal collectives, of which she is also a founding member: the research group SVUNG creates movement-based participatory performances and workshops with experts in co-disciplines; the Femini duo designs socially engaged community theatre performances and performative situations. In her research-based works, she explores the invisible histories of capitalist/patriarchal/postcolonial exploitation, both human and non-human.

Jakub Vaverka

Jakub Vaverka / The Czech Republic

Jakub Vaverka is a performer, dramaturge, director, and a game designer who oscillates between the worlds of theatre and games. He is a graduate of the Alternative and Puppet Theatre of DAMU in Prague, where his main teachers were Petra Tejnorová, Marta Ljubková, and Sodja Lotker. In his work with various (often international) teams, he thoroughly and critically explores what unique forms individual themes and materials specifically demand. This ensures that no two of his projects are the same and leads to various forms of expression, such as puppetry, contemporary dance, site-specific theatre, political pieces, documentary theatre, theatre musical, interactive concerts, live cinema, almost classical drama, and especially various forms of participatory theatre and interactive experiences. Outside of the theatre, he loves to read experimental literature and designs tabletop role-playing games in his spare time.

Mariana Cizikova

Mariana Čížková / The Czech Republic

Mariana Čížková is a professional actress, director and has a PhD degree in Drama in education field. Mariana studied acting at Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Rose Bruford’s College in UK and Esper Studio New York. Previously she was a member of the theatre company Stella Polaris (Norway). She is now a freelance performer in Prague. Mariana has collaborated on dozens of theatre and film performances and participated in many international workshops and projects. She has two children and loves birdsong.

Anna Hubená

Anna Hubená  / The Czech Republic

Anna Hubená is a visual artist and a set designer. She studied wood-carving and product design at the Secondary Professional School of Applied Art and then took a bachelor’s degree at the department of the Alternative and Puppet theatre at DAMU under the guidance of Dagmar Urbanková, Dragan Stojčevski and Robert Smolík. During her studies, she collaborated on the puppet production “Var” with her Gafa collective, on the “George” production at the Venuše ve Švehlovce Theater, on the puppet production “Amundsen” created for Puppets in Hospital, or on the docu-reality performance Empty Spaces at the Alfred ve Dvoře theatre. She is also experienced in light design, sews costumes and makes masks. Anna is currently enrolled in the Master’s program at the Academy of Arts Architecture & Design in Prague, majoring in Fine Arts I, department previously known as Sculpture.

Jana Nuncic

Jana Nunčič  / The Czech Republic

Jana Nunčič (1996, Slovenia) is a freelancing alternative theatre director and scenographer in the field of alternative thetre and puppet theatre. Jana’s work is characterized by her experimental use of sound installations with DIY objects, interactive happenings in site-specific environments, working with everyday materials and the dynamic interplay between sound, motion, and animation.  Jana’s education began at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana and pursued in master’s program in directing at DAMU Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She co-created performances “Shifting Balance,” an object-sound performance with Luan Goncalves, puppet/sound theatre project “Ptačí sněm” (2022), Exit by Fekete Seretlek and Studio Damuza, Lamento for bull and a bullfighter, puppet theatre Maribor (2023), Approximate, opera premiered in NODO 2022 and De-Approximate (2022). This year she is directing in Ljubljanas puppet theatre and sound oriented object performance Can I? with a wider team.