Born in Anderson, South Carolina, USA, Marlena Brdar graduated from Boston University in 2014 with a BA in International Relations, then received her MSc in Management from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in 2016.
After working in the automotive industry as a project assistant and later US business representative for a quality management company in Mosbach, Germany, Marlena moved to Rijeka, Croatia, where she joined the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc as project assistant for EU projects in 2019. During this time she worked on the ADESTE+ Summer School and European Conference, which were held online in fall 2020, as well as the Performance Studies international conference “Crises of Care: Act Respond Engage,” which was postponed and eventually canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She became secretary of the Opera in January 2021.
Her work with the CNT Zajc spans both organizational and artistic capacities: as a member of Rijeka’s Josip Kaplan Youth Choir (led by Doris Kovačić), she performed at the Rijeka National Theatre in the 2018 Christmas concert “‘Kaplan’ i ‘Zajc’ vama za Božić,” then in the Zajc production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Evita in 2020, as well as in the concert “Bilo vavek veselo” held the same year in honor of Croatian composer Ivan Matetić Ronjgov.