In 2009 the Mladinsko Theatre initiated the Bobri (in English Beavers), the Ljubljana-based festival of children education in culture and the arts. Today the Beavers Festival of Culture and Art Education is a wide platform for arts education run by the Municipality of Ljubljana in collaboration with Mladinsko Theatre and Kinodvor Cinema as main producers. The festival features a number of theatre, dance and music performances, a film and literature programme and a wide range of creative workshops for children.
The Beavers festival is a result of a cooperation between public institutions and non-governmental organizations in culture. Its aim is to enable greater accessibility of cultural and artistic events for children and youth, encourage production of artistic and cultural events for children and stimulate cooperation between governmental and non-governmetal producers in the domain of cultural and artistic education. It covers all areas of art: theatre, music and dance performances, screenings at the city’s art cinema, events and readings at the municipality library; exhibitions, guided visits and workshops in museums and galleries as well as workshops in other areas of art and culture (ar-chitecture, design, cultural heritage, history …).
Offering numerous events free of charge, an important part of the Beavers festival are short introductory welcoming speeches, addressing young audiences, as well as educational publications and materials that allow children, their families and teachers to reflect on the contents that were addressed at the specific cultural or art event they visited. All the events follow the postulate of culture and art education: preparation for the event, participation at the event (the experience) and analysis and reflection of the event.
Since 2016, the festival has been organising a young critics workshops called Young Eyes, where the young audiences get the chance to explore the different aspects of the theatrical practice, meet the artists, prepare contributions about the festival in different formats, etc. under the mentorship of a theatre professional (in the recent years the mentor was critic and dramaturg Zala Dobovšek). The Young Eyes project is organized in cooperation with the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre and Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, a host of many of the festival’s events.
In cooperation with Ljubljana City Library and the Vodnik Homestead, the Beavers festival is also organizing a range of activities promoting high quality children’s literature, from readings by and talks with acclaimed authors and storytellers to a book swapping programme.