Bubina Theater for Gender Equality
Operated by at-risk Women and Girls
Who are we?
Bubina Theater is the only puppet theater in Israel which is operated by at-risk girls and women. Boubina allows women and girls to acquire a nontraditional profession as puppeteers. They can take the stage, make their voices heard, learn about education and gender equality as well acquire skills for economic independence, receive fair wages for their work and experience success.
We, at Bubina Theater have made producing gender equality plays our mission. We aspire to educate younger generations, raise consciousness and change gender-based stereotypes and concepts.
Where are we?
We chose to reach out for geographical and social periphery and give girls and young women from underprivileged backgrounds to make their dreams come true: Become actors and puppeteers, stand in the limelight and become part of our cast and crew. In our first year we worked at Afula’s “Beit Ruth”, hostel for at-risk girls, and at the Ministry of Welfare’s halfway houses. Today, well into our second year, we are working with a group of Arab and Jewish girls from Jaffa’s poor neighborhoods, in cooperation with Kol Ha’noar NPO. Our vision is to spread out and start branches in many more spots all over Israel.
Training and Employment
Boubina trains at-risk girls ages 16-23, located in various educational and treatment facilities in Israel. All of the girls are trained both in the subject of gender equality and in theater and puppetry. Boubina makes the girls’ dreams come true, as they become professional actresses and puppeteers in an active theater troupe.
Working at the Theater
Our theater employs a professional head puppeteer and actress, along with six young actresses. The first play our theater will produce is Yuval Yotzet Min Haklal (Exceptional Yuval). Later on, we plan to have several plays running simultaneously, in which more girls and young women from other places in Israel will be able to participate. The girls will be employed by the theater, in accordance with the plays’ schedule, and will be paid for their work.
Target Audiences and Influence
Our audiences include children, school and kindergarten teachers and families. The plays convey messages of gender equality, so as to raise consciousness and create a discourse about gender, and in particular about every girl and woman’s right for equal opportunity to use her skillsand abilities to realize her dreams.
Synopsis of our First Play: Exceptional Yuval
The play tells the story of a girl named Yuval, who is asked by her mother to enroll in an after-school club “like all the other girls.” Yuval doesn’t want to do that, but at the same time, doesn’t dare to speak up. She is afraid to be mocked, if she asks to go to an unconventional program. She shuts off, speaks in a low voice, and does not express her opinion. Yuval has a very opinionated cat, Sima. Sima is not shy about her poignant stances, and in fact, represents Yuval’s inner voice, a voice that wants to be heard.
Encouraged by Sima, Yuval embarks on a journey and meets different characters. Each character reflects traits she never knew she had. They help her grow stronger and tackle obstacles, namely, the glass ceiling women and girls encounter. Yuval comes into her own power, and eventually discovers what she really wants to do.
Founders and CEOs
Sharon Gross – playwright, creator and group facilitator. Studiedבeducation at Oranim Academic College and Gender Studies at Beit Berl College. As a sexuality educator, she worked with teenagers, parents and educators at of Open Door, the Israeli chapter of International Planned
Parenthood Federation, and independently. Sharon is also the founder of Teatron Yotzrim, a social theater troupe for youth performing plays all over Israel. The troupe includes professional actors, and its plays explore topics of gender, healthy sexuality, tolerance, net bullying, mother- daughter relationships and more.
Maki Hamah Neaman has been a social entrepreneur and leader for 16 years. Leading social programs in Israel and transforming disenfranchised populations in Israel, she has received the 2010 JDC’s Sussman Award for excellence, innovation, originality and initiative in the field of social services in Israel. In 2016 she received the Minister for Social Equality Award for her contribution to the struggle to end violence against women. She is the founder and CEO of Ruach Nashit NPO, helping women victims of violence in developing their economic independence. These days she is the CEO of Hakvutza NPO, School for Contemporary Dance.