Since 1986 Marko Japelj has been a freelance stage designer with over two hundred performances in Slovenia and abroad. He studied architecture in Ljubljana. His first stage design was ‹Hedda Gabler› at the Academy of Theater and Film in Ljubljana. His scenographic debut at a professional theater was the production of ‹Three Sisters› by Chekhov (National Drama Theatre Maribor, 1987).
He has designed sets for plays, opera, ballet and modern dance performances at the National Theatres in Slovenia, the National Theatres of Zagreb and Rijeka in Croatia, the National Theatres of Belgrade and Podgorica, the Bucharest Opera, the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, the Zurich Opera House, Musiktheater in Essen and Darmstadt, Staatstheater Augsburg, Wuppertal and Dortmund, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp, Latvian National Opera in Riga, Nederlands Dans Theater 1 in Den Haag, Opera Metz, West Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadienne in Montreal, NOVAT Novosibirsk, Vienna State Opera, Bolshoi Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and others. From 1995 to 1997 he was a guest professor and head of the Institute for Theater and Film Set Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has a long-standing collaboration with the choreographer Edward Clug. At Theater Basel, his stage design can be seen in Edward Clug's story ballet ‹Coppélia› in the season 22/23.