Bebook: Mobile Theatre with a Grounded Mission
Meet Bebook theatre-bus, a creative business by Ani Yeremyan and Ruzanna Petrosnyan and one of the projects that took part in the Artbox Incubator program, receiving Artbox seed funding upon successfully completing the program and presenting a strong business plan package. Bebook is a mobile theater, which makes shadow and puppet interactive performances for 3-10 year old children living in all corners of Armenia. We have sat down with the project’s producer Ani Yeremyan to learn about the projects’ origins and the vision for the future.
The idea of Bebook walking theater was born in 2018 as part of a student project. Ruzanna Petrosnyan, the co-founder and creative director of Bebook, was planning to realize “Theatre on wheels” initiative, which, however got postponed till 2020, when she started working on a series of cultural projects in the Museum of Literature and Art together with me, Ani Yeremyan, the co-founder and producer of Bebook. As a result of this, the circle of collaboration grew and in June of 2021 an interactive shadow theater performance produced for the young beneficiaries of Orran benevolent NGO announced the beginning of Bebook.
Our main source of inspiration are children and the process of working with them. It has always concerned us that there is hunger for culture and art in Armenia, especially among children from the regions, as there aren’t many theaters and entertainment spaces in the regions. Bebook has become beloved by children from the very first production, because it knows how to speak to them. We get inspired by the smiles of our young audiences and they, in turn, get inspired by our sincere disposition.
The biggest achievement for our project has always been and will be our loyal audience – those people who, regardless of their age, always visit our theater and impatiently await our next performances. We already have a pretty significant army of fans, around 5000 people, who are always by our side. Another big achievement for us is the formation of our team. We have gathered great actors, as well as collaborate with professionals from other fields, such as graphic designers, photo- and videographers, directors, etc. And of course, another one of our big achievements has been learning about the Artbox program and taking part in it. Through months of hard yet enjoyable work, we finally transformed our idea into a full vision and business.
For a business with a target group like ours the Armenian reality, indeed, offers both challenges and opportunities. Interactive theater format is comparatively new to Armenia and because of this it is sometimes difficult to contain the excited audiences after giving them such freedom of interaction. Many people still don’t know how to behave in these situations. However, this is also a wonderful opportunity for us to change the preconceived notions about theater in Armenia and become the basis of these changes.
Our plans for Bebook theater at the moment include two main directions – realization of the theater-bus format and creation of an online platform. We are working on creating performances specially for the bus format and arranging tours in various regions in Armenia. On our online platform we plan to have an interactive series for kids in which some of our audience members will also be involved. We already have the script for the series, and soon the professional pavilion will also be ready.
There was a lot of advice we received and all of them were very practical and productive. One of the most important ones for us was that we need to fully understand our target group. Before applying other businesses’ learnings and experience to your own project it is important to study your own business, its beneficiaries and how appropriate and productive those learnings would be for your own project.
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