Shadow Puppetry

Pioneer Valley Shadow Puppet Project


Playing with Puppets : Shadow Puppetry

Workshop Summary

Working in small groups participants will choose a basic story for their shadow performance. This “story” (approx 3 – 5 minuets) may be taken from a book, a poem or may be created from the students’ imagination; after creating puppets the stories are then narrated or performed to music.


1/2 day to produce basic puppets

Full day to produce more elaborate puppets and scenery

Level: Fun for All Ages and abilities, the only requirement is scissor skills.

Max No. Participants: All sized groups can be catered for but ideally it works well with 3 to 5 groups of 4 or 5 students, this provides a nice sized audience and means students operating puppets have enough space behind the screen. With very young groups (early primary school) having an extra pair of “big” hands per group is helpful.

Planning : this is is a beginner’s class designed to have fun, no previous knowledge or skills necessary.

Workshop Outline

Intro to shadow puppetry, materials used and history.

Choosing or creating a story. Creation myths / stories are great as they generally use lots of symbolic characters e.g. sun, moon, animals etc.

The students then choose key characters and scenery that can be drawn in silhouette to create the puppet. These are then drawn or traced onto black card, cut out, reinforced and then attached to canes in order to operate behind the shadow screen.


Groups rehearse and try to introduce sound effects into their performance

Groups take it in turn to perform and be the audience.

Materials list

Participant requirements : Comfy clothing, imagination

Venue requirements:

Access to space that can be made dark, and that has some sort of fixing for a very light weight screen to be suspended from. Access to power points, OHP projector,Table and chairs to seat participants,Tea and coffee facilities if working with Adults.

Ideally the workshop is run in a room or outside space next to the darkened room where the shadow screen is set up. This then gives each group the opportunity to rehearse their ‘show’ before performing in front of the whole group.

Materials levy $5 per person

Materials levy includes Card, Cane, wire, tape, photocopies, and cellophane.

Tutor to provides the follow equipment – reference books, CD player, musical instruments, shadow screen, scissors, pencils, hole punch

Pioneer Valley Shadow Puppet project 2007