Welcome spring and World Puppetry Day with 'Ololo'
March 21, 2021
At h-pem, we wish the world a COVID-free spring by evoking the magic of a once-thriving puppet theatre which turned fairy tales into reality
Five years ago, a group of young artists, actors, and psychologists started the “Ololo” Puppet Theatre in Armenia. Their traveling workshops and portable performances attracted children to private houses, cafés, libraries, parks, even to the zoo.
The theatre was named after Ololo, a fictional character who possessed magical abilities to enter into the world of fairy tales and take children with him.
What made the theatre stand out was its interactive nature, where actors improvised and engaged children in the tales, allowing them to partake and play a special role in the unfolding of their favorite stories. Bad characters were redeemable, and it was up to the children to decide whether to intervene — they could help the prince find the princess, sing for the lonely mouse, make friends with puppets, and warn pigs to escape.
The actors animated hand-made puppets or assumed a character spun from a child’s own imagination for creative fun. Sometimes they carried a suitcase “full of fairy tales” and objects, and invited children to choose one. In such cases, no puppets were involved. Thus, a broom transformed into a groom for Cinderella, and the children played the part of wedding guests.
Was the broom really the groom? The actors didn’t have to give an explanation — the children could convince each other!
The “Ololo” initiative was meant not only to stimulate a child’s imagination, but also to produce a therapeutic effect. It was committed to making a positive social impact by developing human values, such as fairness, empathy, and the ability to express oneself freely, among young people.
There were times when Ololo did not finish the tale, prompting children to come up with an ending.
While the “Ololo” Puppet Theatre does not operate these days, nevertheless, we wish you a happy spring, with your own creative twist!
Two years ago, following their heart’s calling, two souls merged and birthed PATMI into the world. Guided by the vision to turn Armenia’s villages into open-air art galleries, they started with Meghradzor, sharing a local story on a wall. They “breastfed” their cosmic baby with great love and care until it was strong enough to survive on its own. This is their journey, as told by one of the “mothers.”
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Often overlooked, set and scenic design in films and theater play a vital role. So vital, in fact, that the prestigious annual Tony Awards has award categories for best scenic design. The award is split into two categories: Best Scenic Design in a Musical and Best Scenic Design in a Play.
H-Pem is thrilled for the opportunity to partner with the newly founded International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) and host their inaugural Young Armenian Poets Awards.
Poetry has the power to unlock young people’s imaginations, inspire change, and challenge us with diverse reflections, especially in these trying times.
We’re all for creative ingenuity and are set to celebrate the winning entries. If you’re an aspiring poet between the ages of 14-18, join IALA’s contest. It's your chance to get your voice heard and initiate a meaningful conversation with the beauty of words.
Tap into your inner poet with fresh and exclusive insights from IALA Board leaders in the article below!