Alpay Ekler was born in Istanbul in 1964. He graduated from the Department of Foreign Language in the Faculty of Literature at Istanbul University. In 1989, he founded “Tiyarto Merdiven” in Ümraniye, Istanbul, and directed many theater plays such as “Virüsün Adı Yok”, “Bayır Turbunun Türküsü”, “Oyunlar ve Yaşayanlar”, “Sorgu”, and “Kanrevanmaraş”. Later, Ekler had an interest in children′s puppet theaters. He has written many plays and has composed music for puppet theaters, such as “Maymunun Hediyesi” and “İlaçlar Mikroplara Karşı”.
Ekler learned puppetry from puppet master Hayali İhsan Dizdar. Since 1996, he has performed puppet theater “Karagöz” as a professional puppeteer. He has participated in many festivals in Turkey and abroad. In 2000, Ekler was invited to the BITEF International Theater Festival and represented Turkey. He published his paper on "natural dyeing on puppets", and had many workshops on it in Turkey and foreign countries. In 2002, Ekler returned to the Tiyatro Mediven; and wrote the playwriting “Soyunun Savaşa”, and directed the play “Aşk Grevi”. For children (8-12 years old), Ekler has written many playwritings, and has directed theater plays such as “Aşkın Gözü Kördür”, “Bizim Aklımız Ermez”, “Bu da Bizim Hamlet”, “İletişim Parodileri”.
Ekler has produced puppets and trained many young artists such as Bülent Aksu, Ruşen Gülen, Enis Ergün and Deniz Karakar at his workshop. Ekler has written and composed many modern “Karagöz” puppets theaters for children including “Karagöz Ay’a gidiyor”, “Karagöz Plaj Bekçisi”, “Karagöz Kitap kurdu”, “Karagöz ağaç dikiyor”, “Ava gidern avlanır”. Between 2000 and 2006, he taught “puppet making and puppetry” at the Stage Arts Center in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. He was selected as the “Most Successful Puppeteer and Karagöz Master” in the International Puppet Association UNIMA National Center in 2005. Currently, Ekler teaches at the Department of Stage Arts of Kocaeli University, and serves as a director in the Istanbul brunch of UNIMA Turkey National Center.
Reference: tr.wikipedia.org, istanbulunustalari.com, İstanbul’un Ustaları (Istanbul: İstanbul 2010 Avrupa Kültür Başkenti, 2010), p.81.