Theater of Crumbs

The pilot Bread House Cultural Center in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, now registered as a local chitalishte (a traditional form of a Bulgarian cultural center) and also a member of I3C, is currently developing an innovative form of theater called “Theater of Crumbs” now spreading as an innovative method in Italy, Germany, and Romania within partner organizations of the Bread House. The logo of the Theater of Crumbs was developed by local Gabrovo sculptor Kalin Koichev, who drafted it based on a model teaching students of sculpture how to make and bake bronze statues, building the channels through which to fill the figure with substance. It is a metaphor of the ways the strings of the puppet can both control it but also help it move and thus develop its own character and "substance" - this is the potential of any actor or citizen, and each citizen as a part of the whole of society: a crumb part of the whole bread.

The Theater of Crumbs started with a volunteer-run puppet theater group at the Bread House, and the distinctive element of the performances the group has so far staged (an adaptation of the “Carlson Who Lives on the Rooftop” story) engages the audience to make bread during the performance with the fire oven serving as a background prop, where the stage is literally hanging in the air perched on top of big beams 3 meters up above the space with the fire oven and the bread-making table: the puppets are hanging from the "stage in the air" and down above the table sometimes walking on it and among the "audience", while at the same time the "audience" of 10-20 people maximum is sitting around it and making and baking the bread. The play is meant to be interactive and to address local issues in entertaining ways that inspire the audience to engage and try to solve serious local issues with the tools of satire and comedy as they can suggest  at any time to the actors how the plot should evolve. This kind of forum theater is based on the methodology developed by Brazilian artist Augusto Boal and his “Theater of the Oppressed” that is currently a global network of community theater groups helping often marginalized communities have a voice and secure for themselves better quality of life. The Theater of Crumbs adds to Boal’s method the elements of the puppets and of food (bread in particular), and both methods how daily problems could be seen through a different perspective and better dealt with personally and collectively through the amusing but also analytical tools of theater and in the case of the Theater of Crumbs a methodology often employing humor and food making and food sharing as a culmination of the performances.