Skip to main content



ThumbelinaPuppet performance, length 40 min

Photo by Jaka Varmuž
Everything starts with a seed. And a desire for something to grow. Given some care and attention, the seed soon sprouts up from the ground, and grows a flower to blossom. From the flower, a tiny creature comes into the world full of brash curiosity. A creature no bigger than a thumb.

Her petite appearance, however, makes the world no less tough on Thumbelina. Soon enough, the girl experiences a series of episodes pushing her to re-examine her relationship with the world. After the Old Toad kidnaps her to become her son’s wife, Thumbelina runs away and ends up with Lady Cockchafers, only to be ridiculed for her looks. When winter comes, she takes refuge with the Field Mouse, helping her with household chores in exchange for board and lodging. It is warm and cosy in the mouse's nest, and Thumbelina has everything she needs. Or does she?

This is an epic tale as much as it is a distinctly psychological one in terms of its exemplary, almost didactic nature. Andersen introduces various lifestyles and value systems to indicate that "good" and "bad" or "pretty" and "ugly" are often merely subjective labels that may prove to be relative in relation to others. Andersen suggests that unreflecting external pressure from society may weigh heavily on an adolescent; that choosing to be loyal to yourself is an act that requires a great deal of determination, integrity, and courage.

Thumbelina has entered the canon of European children’s and youth literature as one of the subtlest, most delicate and brightest fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen’s body of work. The writer modelled the heroine the size of a thumb on other stories of miniature creatures (such as the Lilliputians from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels). Since then, the character of Thumbelina has embarked on a journey of her own, seeing a number of adaptations for film, TV, literature, art, and this time for the stage, adapted for the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre by writer and actor Maja Kunšič and dramaturge Tajda Lipicer.

Premiere: 16 March 2023, LGL Kulturnica

Based on a fairy tale by: Hans Christian Andersen
Director: Maja Kunšič
Adapted by: Maja Kunšič, Tajda Lipicer
Visual and Set Design: Zala Kalan
Music: Zvezdana Novaković
Costume Design: Tina Kolenik
Lighting Design: Maša Avsec
Language Consultant: Maja Cerar
Puppet Engineers: Žiga Lebar, Zala Kalan
Cast: Maja Kunšič
Stage Managers and Sound Designers: Emil Koprivc, Damir Radončić
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović
Chief Lighting Technicians: Maša Avsec, Danilo Korelec
Puppets, Set and Costumes: Zala Kalan, David Klemenčič, Žiga Lebar, Sandra Birjukov, Monika Colja, Olga Milić
Technical Assistance: Mitja Vasič
We would like to thank: Irena Štaudohar for her permission to use quotes from her book “Fižolozofija: čudeži vrtnarjenja” (Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana 2022).