Dreams on Wheels, Bulgaria

Upon arriving in Sofia last December, I ran shadow puppet making workshops for two weeks with children attending English lessons at Dreams on Wheels (Мечти на колела) and Elen School, after-school projects.

The Happy Planet by Dreams on Wheels

I was completely overwhelmed by the warm welcome I received and how delighted the children were to take part. After giving an introductory demonstration with some of the shadow puppets I’d brought along, we quickly got underway making new characters to perform in a short show. A story soon evolved and together we wrote our play, ‘The Happy Planet’.

Christmas and the end of term were approaching, so we had to work fast and efficiently. With much help and support from play workers, Gena and Ilka and friend Tanya, we secured a venue at a nearby community centre for the 21st December to host ‘Shadow Puppet Shows for Children’. We made as we wrote as we rehearsed…

In between workshops I was busy remaking puppets for a new adaptation of my shadow puppet show, ‘Mole in a Hole’ to perform on alongside The ‘Happy Planet’. Working with translator Tanya Doctorova, we added rhyming couplets to the original song lyrics to Mole in a Hole by The Southlanders (1958), in English and Bulgarian. At each session, I’d share my progress and play the song. From this the children decided to learn it to sing on the night.

Shadow puppet Shows for Children

Oh what a night! I opened the evening with ‘Mole in a Hole’ in English and Bulgarian – brilliantly translated by Tanya. Over 20 puppet-characters squeezed themselves onto the screen. (Except the bus which was late!)

Photo: Mila Yolova

Then Mila (9) played a violin composition by Bulgarian composer, Parashkev Hadjiev. This was followed by the children from Dreams on Wheels (all of them I think!) performing ‘The Happy Planet’. Which was to be honest, exceptional!

Mila making the crocodile
Purple crocodile

After, children read their poems about purple crocodiles, popcorn, Christmas and recycling and then sang ‘Mole in a Hole’ in English.

Before leaving Bulgaria, I called in at Dreams on Wheels to return their puppets and say goodbye. Lovely to see everyone again. It was also one of the girl’s birthday, so party time!

Thank you to ‘Dreams on Wheels’ and everyone who helped make this happen!

Incidentally, at the Shadow Puppet Show for Children night, we shared Sheffield and Sofia’s music – Playing Sheffield’s Mango Rescue Team, King Capisce and Sofia’s, Bedlam Club. All available on Bandcamp

Flying Underground by The Bedlam Club
Memento Mori by King Capisce
Ritmos Calentitos by Mango Rescue Team




2 thoughts on “Dreams on Wheels, Bulgaria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *