Shadow puppet workshops can last anything from one hour to a whole day, depending on how involved you want to get. We have conducted workshops with all age ranges from young children to the ancient! Many have been mixed ages. One of the best things about shadow-puppetry is that anyone can make a striking, atmospheric puppet. We have found this artform to be a great introduction to different types of craft and performance, which easily brings people of different skills together.
Possible Workshop Aims (could contain any or all of the following):
•Creating a working shadow-puppet.
•Exploring colour, light, materials, mechanisms/moving-parts
•Learning basic puppet construction
•Operating your shadow-puppet(s)
•Exploring blending words/music with puppetry
•Creating and performing a show (recommended for schools)
In its simplest form, we look at finding objects that make good shadows, or turning a drawing into a cuttable silhouette (you don’t have to be good at drawing!). We carve it with scissors or scalpels, or perhaps we use found materials to build it, such as feathers. We might look at how transparent colours can be introduced to your puppet, and how to attach sticks, to use it behind a shadow-screen. We look at the puppets behind the screen – perhaps they can interact with each other?
We usually encourage trying to make your shadow-puppet with at least one moving part. Usually this would involve attaching a part (like an arm) with a pivot, so that it can be rotated with a stick. With a bit of practise, a puppet might have many moving parts, with more than one puppeteer operating a single puppet.
In the workshop’s most complex form, we would work together in a larger group (or two) to make a show which is timed, perhaps to spoken word or music. This is a theatrical art – lighting can be used to create vivid atmospheres in the world of shadows. This will usually culminate in a performance or an informal showing. We recommend a time-span of at least one day for this format– time flies when you’re having fun.