The last few weeks I have been researching theatre traditions and theatre companies that use SHADOWS in their performances. For this blog I thought it would be good to share them with you so that you can see the amazing range of ways that light and darkness can be used with objects, bodies and film in performance. You can use these as starting points for devising, ways into world theatre traditions or as ideas for performance and production. I hope that there is something here to inform, excite and inspire you.

Shadow Theatre performances around the world:

Cambodia – Sbek Thom, Khmer Shadow Theatre:

Indonesia – Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppetry:

Turkey – Karagoz Shadow Puppetry:

Ukraine – VERBA, Professional Shadow Dance Troupe:

Hungary – Shadow Dance Troupe Attraction:

Philippines – El Gamma Penumbra:

China – Shadow Puppet Theatre, Pi Ying:

Hand puppetry:

Best Shadow Puppets ever!

How to make shadow puppets with your hands:

You may also be inspired by this story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Shadow (1847)

Synopsis: “Once a learned man from the northern regions of Europe went on a voyage south. One night, he sat on his terrace, while the fire behind him cast his shadow on the opposite balcony. As he was sitting there, resting, the man was amused to observe how the shadow followed his every movement, as if he really did sit upon the opposing balcony. When he finally grew tired and went to sleep, he imagined the shadow would likewise retire in the house across the street.

The next morning however, the man found to his surprise that he in fact had lost his shadow overnight. As a new shadow slowly grew back from the tip of his toes, the man did not give the incident another thought, returned to northern Europe, and took up writing again. Several years passed by until one night a man knocked at his door. To his surprise, it was his shadow, the one he lost years before in Africa, and now stood upon his doorstep, almost completely human in appearance. Astonished by his sudden reappearance, the learned man invited him into his house, and soon the two sat by the fireplace, as the shadow related how he had come to be man.

The learned man was calm and gentle by nature. His main object of interest lay with the good, the beautiful and the true, a subject of which he wrote often but was of no interest to anyone else. The shadow said his master did not understand the world, that he had seen it as truly was, and how evil some men really were.”

For the full version of the story visit: