may, 2019

This is a repeating event

16may10:00 am5:00 pm Shadows, Strings and Other Things: The Enchanting Theatre of Puppets 


Event Details

Grand theatrical experience features a broad array of puppets from 15 countries,
inviting visitors to explore the historical and dynamic qualities of puppetry


The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC presents an immersive exhibition animated with light, sound, and moving images — Shadows, Strings and Other Things: The Enchanting Theatre of Puppets, on display from May 16 to October 14, 2019.

Visitors will have the opportunity to view more than 250 handcrafted puppets drawn from MOA’s collection — the largest in Western Canada — plus, new acquisitions from China, Brazil, Italy, Java, the UK, and France revealed to the public for the first time.

“Puppets are fabulous storytellers and precious knowledge holders. They are educators, entertainers, and satirical commentators, spanning different cultures and millennia,” says Levell.

In Shadows, Strings and Other Things, visitors are welcomed into a grand theatrical experience where five theatre stages demonstrate each main puppet type: shadow, string (marionette), rod, hand (glove), and stop-motion animation. Stages are framed by opulent curtains and lavish, hand-illustrated backdrops, and depict scenes from various puppet plays. The exhibition also offers a glimpse behind the scenes, with displays of workshop settings and storage spaces. Other extraordinary puppets are presented in glass cases, while video booths play moving pictures of different puppetry traditions from around the world.

The exhibition features a broad array of puppets from 15 countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and spotlights works by artists who frame their cultural traditions through the lens of contemporary culture. Highlights of these superb new works include: the Lu Family’s vibrant and colourful shadow puppets, such as Mu Guiying, a female warrior character whose striking headdress incorporates two long pheasant feathers — a style inspired by traditional Chinese opera costumes; award-winning Indigenous artist Amanda Strong’s haunting stop-motion animation (Four Faces of the Moon, 2016) with a puppet and prop installation of Skull Mountain, composed of 1,000 handcrafted buffalo skulls; wayang kulit shadow puppets from Java, Indonesia, which are used in spectacular storytelling feats  involving music, voice, and song that can last from midnight until dawn; and a newly commissioned hand puppet set of Punch and Judy, the beloved English slapstick tradition that dates back to 1662.

Many of the puppetry traditions on display are recognized and celebrated by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This exhibition spotlights how puppets dramatize the human experience in many parts of the world. Shadows, Strings and Other Things is a unique and magical opportunity for visitors of all ages to explore the historical and dynamic qualities of puppetry.

About MOA (
The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is world-renowned for its collections, research, teaching, public programs and community connections.


(Thursday) 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Museum of Anthropology

6393 NW Marine Drive

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