Shadow Puppets, A Shadow Stage

Shadow Puppets
Shadow puppets have been popular for hundreds of years in China, India and Java (Indonesia). They are ideal for school, church and hospital puppetry, being cheap and easy to make and operate. For a shadow show all you need are some cut-out puppets, a screen and a strong light. The puppet material must be strong, but should be as thin as possible so as to cast a sharp shadow against the screen. Use stiff cardboard, sheet zinc or black sheet plastic. Be sure to put the heads of the paper fasteners on the side of the puppet that will face the screen. They will not snag the material. Settings cut from black paper can be removable themselves, or can be fixed permanently to screens which can be changed in the frame stage. Colored figures and backgrounds of colored plastic or colored oiled paper can be used to good effect.

A Shadow Stage
The screen material can be factory cotton, glazed chintz or oiled paper, stretched as tightly as possible on the frame. The screen should be set in its stand at a slight angle so that puppets can be rested against it. Use one strong light source, from above and behind, making sure that the shadows of the operator's heads are not cast on the screen. The stage can be as large as you wish, but you must have a strong enough light to cover the whole surface.

A Shadow Stage