Zlatko Bourek is the author of more than 200 set and costume designs for theatre, a director, a puppet and mask designer, and oftentimes also the designer of posters for the plays. He collaborated with nearly all theatres in Croatia and he also worked in Slovenia, Serbia, Italy and Germany.

He debuted as a set and costume designer in 1960 by working on The Butcher of Abbeville (Mesar iz Abevilla) and Master Pathelin (Meštar Pathelin) at the Gavella Drama Theatre in Zagreb.

Starting from 1971, he often worked as a set and costume designer in West Germany (Bühnen, Wuppertal, and Bayerisches Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Münich).

In 1988, he became a full-time member of the Hans Wurst Nachfaren Theatre in Berlin, where he successfully put on four Chekhov’s single-act plays, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Rigoletto (based on the libretto of the eponymous opera).

Of the many plays that he worked on, several stand out in which he featured as a complete author (concept, direction, set and costume design, puppets and masks, posters) such as Sveti Juraj / Saint George (HNK Zagreb and Split Summer Festival, 1994), Bećarac / The Dancing Songs (HNK Osijek, 1998), Umišljeni bolesnik / The Hypochondriac (Gavella Drama Theatre, 2000), Priče mačka na grani / The Tales of the Perched Cat (Zagreb Youth Theatre, 2003), Ubu-kralj robijaš / Ubu Roi (HNK Split, 2005), Skup / The Miser (Marin Držić Theatre, Dubrovnik, 2008) and Jedini neuspjeh Adolfa H. / The Sole Failure of Adolf H. (Zagreb Puppet Theatre, 2010).

Bourek transferred his powerful and distinctive artistic language into theatrical work, utilising his unique sense of humour and grotesque and playing with stylistic elements and motifs and folklore of his native Slavonia.