Named after the celebrated Slovene dramatist and historian Anton Tomaž Linhart (1756–1795), Linhart Encounter is an annual festival of non-professional Slovene theatre groups, organised by the Public Fund for Cultural Activities of the Republic of Slovenia since 1962. Held in Postojna since 2004, Linhart Encounter presents an overview of amateur theatre production, with an aim to popularise and award the best production and achievements of the current season (Matiček Award).
In its (competition and side) programme, the festival includes performances of all genres and formats. The performances are selected by a selector who travels to see all the potentially eligible performances and then invites 6 to 8 of them (out of over 120) to the festival along with the best performance of the Visions Festival of Young Theatre Groups. Along with Slovene amateur theatre groups, performances by Slovene minorities living in Austria, Croatia, Hungary or elsewhere are eligible for the festival. Participation in the Linhart Encounter enables the groups to raise the quality of their work, network and exchange as well as to develop their ideas further.
In the side programme, the festival offers round tables, discussions and workshops, as well as hosts international amateur theatre groups. The international jury confers the Matiček Awards for the best performance, best actor and best actress in the lead and supporting roles, and may confer up to 3 awards for special achievements. At the festival, the Public Fund for Cultural Activities of the Republic of Slovenia also presents the “Linhart Badge” for outstanding achievements in non-professional theatre.