Your friends are fundraising. Don't miss out, opt in.

Karen  Babayan

Karen Babayan is crowdfunding

0%
£1,074
raised of £3,000 target by 39 supporters

Weʼre raising £3,000 to help us fund a full-length Actor Musician production of Swallows & Armenians, touring to UK theatres in 2024

Don't have time to donate right now?

Story

Swallows and Armenians is a fascinating story of friendship and family, love and jealousy, with a good measure of sailing thrown in. The book by artist and author Karen Babayan was brought to life in July 2022 and the actor-musician production was performed in the heart of Cumbria as part of the Cumbria Opera Group's inaugural Weekend of Opera. This production was performed by a multicultural cast whose own diverse backgrounds and family migration stories mirrored that of the Altounyan children. We now wish to take a full-length production of the show further afield to tour theatres in the UK in 2025. This project reappraises a children’s classic, uncovering and celebrating the ethnic richness of British culture. Cover photo by Asadour Guzelian.

Background:

Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons is a classic book about children having adventures on a lake. The Walker family have always been depicted as quintessentially English in the book, film and TV adaptations of the story; but what is not widely known is that Ransome modelled his characters on the Altounyans, an Anglo-Armenian family from Aleppo, Syria. Swallows and Armenians reinstates the cultural diversity of the children who inspired Ransome, delving into the very special relationship between the two families that also, spectacularly fell apart.

Swallows and Armenians began life in 2017 as a small exhibition, and rapidly grew into a book of short stories, painstakingly researched through letters and diaries from the Arthur Ransome archive at the University of Leeds Special Collections. This was followed by a devised performance with local children at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, an audiobook (available at www.audible.com) and a touring exhibition across the north of England.

Our new production:

In 2022 with a diverse cast and original score, we created the newest addition to the Swallows and Armenians catalogue. Karen Babayan adapted Swallows and Armenians for the stage, in collaboration with Persia Babayan-Taylor, a director, actor-musician and composer. An original score was composed for the production by Persia Babayan-Taylor, with support from composer and musical director Madeleine Wilshire. This was a short 45 minute production in two acts, performed by professional actor-musicians to an appreciative audience of 220 people outdoors, over two days. Our new production in 2025 will be extended to 90 minutes and will be offered as a visiting production to theatres in the UK.

The cast with Director Persia Babayan-Taylor (sitting centre) & Musical Director Madeleine Wilshire (standing centre).

What will your donations go towards?

Your kind donations will go towards helping us pay the cast and crew, help to cover the costs of travel and accomodation and help to fund the set, props, costumes and to develop the show into a full-length in-theatre production. This is the first stage of our fundraising endeavours. The money raised from our supporters will also strengthen our applications for funding from grant giving bodies.

What will you get in return?

The satisfaction in knowing you have contributed to creating an original piece of actor-musician theatre that has an important message of inclusion at its heart and which brings a positive awareness of the richness of the UK's diverse communities and their contribution to the cultural fabric of the UK

What did our audiences say?

It was absolutely brilliant, well done for such an amazing play and to all of the actors that brought it to life!

What a wonderful afternoon we have had! Pass on our congratulations to them all and our thanks to you for providing some amazing culture in Appleby.

A wonderful and varied afternoon provided by some awesomely talented young people.’

What did our reviews say?

The joy of this family is beautifully captured in the music written by Persia Babayan-Taylor. The talented actor-musicians who presented this production are perfectly cast - Haroun Al-Jeddal as Roger, and Laura Andresen Guimaraes as Susie, dancing and playing, creating the happiness of a close-knit family. Marina Papadopoulos as Dora, playing mother and Arthur's childhood friend is at the heart of the family. An English woman loyal to her husband, children and chosen culture. The energy and charisma of Titty is brought to life by Hanna Khogali.

The dancing, the music and the pure joy of life that this opera celebrates, creates drama when juxtaposed with the anger of the arguments between Arthur and Ernest and emphasises the sadness of this true story. The intensity of the score for this part of the opera was carefully crafted to create the impact of the narrative. Review by Karen Morley Chesworth 22.7.22.

About Karen Babayan:

Karen was born in Iran to Armenian/British parents and moved to the UK due to the impending Islamic Revolution in 1979. Latterly she lived in Leeds, a stone’s throw from the house in which Arthur Ransome was born. She now lives in Appleby, Cumbria. An established, multi-disciplinary artist, writer and curator, Karen has exhibited nationally and Internationally with work in many public collections including Special Collections, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds; Leeds City Art Gallery; Harris Art Gallery, Preston; Tate Britain Library, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. In 2016 she gained a PhD, published her first book of short stories ‘Blood Oranges Dipped in Salt’, and was awarded C-Art Cumbria Artist of the Year. www.karenbabayan.com

Share this story

Updates

8

  • Karen  Babayan1 year ago
    Karen  Babayan

    Karen Babayan

    1 year ago

    We've made our first target! We're over the £1000 mark! I'm overwhelmed and delighted by the generosity of our supporters! Thankyou to our wonderful friends and family here in the UK and in the USA, the Matossians, the Bell and Kilner family and the enigmatic A. Nonymous! Thankyou all so much and wishing you all a very happy Christmas!

    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Karen  Babayan1 year ago
    Karen  Babayan

    Karen Babayan

    1 year ago

    It would mean so much to reach my first target of £1000 by Christmas - and we might just do it! We just need another £96! We are up to 30% of our target thanks to to 34 amazing individuals! The latest to join our Swallows & Armenians family are Viv & Melvyn Mountain, Hasmig Topalian, the family Kilner and the family Bell! Thankyou ALL so much for your generosity. Here's a photo of myself, Joe Davies director of Cumbria Opera Company, & three of our actors during our Armenian circle dance event at our premiere in July.

    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Karen  Babayan1 year ago
    Karen  Babayan

    Karen Babayan

    1 year ago

    We've got to 22% of our target with the generosity of 25 awesome folks, and we're aiming for 33%, that's £1000, before Xmas, but we can't do it without your help! Great folks such as Matt J and Cecilia & Graham are the latest to come on board to the Swallows and Armenians family, thankyou so much! Here's a photo of the fabulous Laura Andresen Guimaraes who played Susie, in her best comedy mode.

    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

1 year ago

Karen Babayan started crowdfunding

Leave a message of support

Page last updated on: 1/26/2023 18.24

Supporters

39

  • Tatiana Ferahian

    Tatiana Ferahian

    Jan 26, 2023

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Jan 25, 2023

    £10.00

  • Hayley Doherty

    Hayley Doherty

    Dec 24, 2022

    Can’t wait to see it! X

    £10.00

  • Matossian family

    Matossian family

    Dec 24, 2022

    Continue the good work

    £100.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Dec 23, 2022

    £30.00

  • Lisa, Michael, Alana and Freya Bell

    Lisa, Michael, Alana and Freya Bell

    Dec 23, 2022

    Happy to donate and good luck in raising target needed 😘

    £25.00

  • Family Kilner

    Family Kilner

    Dec 23, 2022

    Good luck - I hope this helps 💋

Karen  Babayan

Become a supporter

Help Karen Babayan raise more

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you're not a registered nonprofit.

The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.

About the fundraiser
Karen  Babayan

Karen Babayan

Karen Babayan is an artist, curator and writer whose ambitious multidisciplinary project Swallows and Armenians brings a positive awareness of migration and of the Armenian communities’ contribution to the cultural fabric of the UK.

Report this Page