Towards a place for shadow play in creative drama

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Shadow theatre is an ancient dramatic art form which has deep roots in most Asian cultures but is relatively foreign to the West. This study intends to inform the reader about the development and styles of shadow theatre and explore its potential for Creative Drama work with children. A look at the development of shadow theatre reveals its religious origin. Because cultures of the East are strongly drawn to the world of the spirits, shadow theatre has a keen appeal there. Although shadow theatre of various countries share the same basic elements (a screen, a light source, and shadow figures), each place endowed it with individual characteristics. Introduced to Europe at the end of the Rococo period, shadow theatre has subsequently been adapted by various European artists to their own styles by experimenting with new material for the puppets, lighting techniques, and shadows produced by human bodies. Throughout history, the minimalistic nature of shadow theatre has appealed to the imagination of people of widely varying cultures. I believe that shadow play activities can benefit personal development. This idea has theoretical support from psychological and educational literature and practical support from my own work with elementary students. An exploration of the importance of play and make-believe, of puppets, and of shadows serves to illustrate the value of shadow play activities to the child's development.
Bibliography: p. 118-123.
Colmers, E. M. (1986). Towards a place for shadow play in creative drama (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/12914