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Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

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									Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Shadow Puppets
An information Pack for Teachers

Explore the wonder of shadow puppets around the world in our
Performance gallery then make your own for a show behind the
puppet screen.

Aims of session
National Curriculum links
Risk assessment
Group Leader’s Sheet
Guidelines for your Visit
Pre visit and post visit activities
Background information
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The session includes:

      A gallery trail
      Shadow puppet handling session
      Designing shadow puppets
      Making shadow puppets with black card, rods and split pins
      Shadow puppet parade behind a screen

The session provides an opportunity to gain an insight into how objects are made. It also
promotes group work and individual decision making.

The session supports elements of the KS2 Design Technology, Art and Design and History
programmes, as well as helping to enhance drama skills.

Outline of the session

This is a flexible four hour session which can be adapted to suit the group (e.g. made shorter,
organised as two two hour sessions etc.)

Lunch and refreshment/ snack breaks are incorporated into the session. The schools should
ensure children bring their own refreshments/ snacks.

The charge is £50 for the session and the maximum number of students is twelve. The
sessions will be lead by an experienced Museum Teacher with experience in art and special
needs education.

Group Organisation

Please make sure that you have organised the class and the adult helpers into four groups for
the handling session.

Aims of the Session
The session aims to support the following areas of the curriculum:

Art and Design Curriculum
1.   Explore shape and line
2.   Explore how to convey movement in their work
3.   Manipulate materials and processes to communicate ideas and meanings
4.   To collect visual and other information to help them develop their ideas
5.   Adapt and improve their work to realise their intentions
6.   Compare and comment on ideas of their own and others’
7.   To understand work from other cultures

Drama Curriculum:
1.   Work with others to shape ideas into actions
2.   Create characters, settings and plots
3.   Use language and actions to convey situations, characters and emotions
4.   Communicate ideas and meanings
5.   Convey character and atmosphere in scripted plays or improvisations

Science Curriculum
1. Understand the shadows are formed when light from a source is blocked
2. Understand that shadows are similar to the objects that form them

Citizenship Curriculum
1.   To understand what is involved in effective listening
2.   To listen to and respond to others
3.   To take turns in discussion and take different views into account
4.   Learn about different communities and different places in the world

The session provides opportunities for
1.   Discussion
2.   Observation
3.   Questioning
4.   Speaking and listening
5.   Describing (speaking, writing, drawing)
6.   Deduction and/or interpretation

Social Skills
1. Cooperation
2. Respect for things and other people

National Curriculum Links
KEY STAGE 2: Curriculum 2000
Evaluating processes  Recognise that the quality of a product depends
and products           on how well it was made and how well it meets its
                       intended purpose
Knowledge and         Know how the working characteristics of
understanding of       materials affect the ways they are used
materials and

Exploring and               Record from experience, select and record from
developing ideas             first hand observation, explore ideas for different
                            Collect visual and other information to help to
                             develop their ideas
Evaluating and              Compare ideas, methods and approaches in
developing work              others’ work and say what they think and feel
                             about them
Knowledge and               Explore visual and tactile elements, including
understanding                colour, pattern and texture
                            Understand use of materials and processes
                             used in art, craft and design
Breadth of study            Explore a range of starting points for practical

Breadth of Study            Think about people living in other places and
                             times with different values and customs

Guidelines and Risk Assessment for Schools
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

   Please ensure that students have pens or pencils and clipboards if necessary.
   The students should wear suitable footwear.
   Please ensure that you have enough adults to provide adequate supervision for your group.
     Minimum staff ratio is 1:10 KS1+2, 1:15 KS3.
   All group leaders and accompanying adults must have a copy of the confirmation letter and a
     group leader’s sheet that lists the itinerary for the day.
   Groups must arrive at least five minutes before their first activity is due to start. The teacher in
     charge should escort the group into the main entrance of the museum and report to the
     information desk. It is essential that you tell us how many students and adults are in your
   School parties must remember that the museum is open to members of the public as well.
     Please supervise your group so they do not block walkways or displays. It would be very
     helpful if groups are staggered to visit different galleries. Worksheets can be distributed before
     entering the exhibition. A range of worksheets can be downloaded from the museum’s website
   The temporary exhibitions on the first floor change every 3-4 months. There will be warning
     signs on the door if the content of the exhibition is unsuitable for particular age groups or
     contains sensitive material. Please take note of this before allowing students in.
   Photography is allowed throughout the museum. Occasionally photography will not be allowed
     in the temporary exhibition galleries and there will be a sign on the door to indicate this. When
     taking photographs please be aware of other visitors around you and ensure you do not block
     gangways or disturb others.
    If you have pre-booked a teaching session with a museum teacher please report to the
     information desk where your teacher will meet you and escort you to the education rooms.

   All areas of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery are accessible for wheelchair users and people
     with limited mobility. Please inform Museum Learning of any access or special needs
     requirements when booking your visit.
   Sessions can be adapted to suit individual groups. Please discuss any specific requirements
     with Museum Learning when booking your visit.
   Students must be accompanied by a teacher or adult at all times.
      The lifts are primarily intended for elderly and disabled visitors. Please tell your group this
       before the visit. The lift is situated in the World Art gallery on the ground floor and the Fine Art
       gallery on the first floor.
    There are toilets on the ground floor and in the basement by the education rooms. There are
      disabled toilets on the ground floor by the education rooms and also on the first floor by
      Brighton History Centre.

   School groups can picnic in the Pavilion Gardens in good weather.
   The Picnic Room is heavily booked so schools must adhere strictly to their allotted time.
    Please show your confirmation letter to the Information Desk and they will escort you to the
    Picnic Room. If you are paying on arrival please pay at the Museum Shop. Please ensure that
    your group places all litter in the bins provided.

   Teachers are responsible for the behavior of their groups throughout the visit. Please ensure
     that your party is divided into small groups and that a member of staff or responsible adult is in
     charge of and in sight of each group. Other visitors must not be disturbed by inconsiderate
   No food or drink, including sweets, may be consumed anywhere in the museum, except the
     Picnic Room and the Café.
   It is not permitted to touch any of the exhibits on display. This is for their long-term preservation
     and for safety reasons.
   We regret that failure to abide by these rules may result in the group being asked to leave the
     building and future visits by the school being stopped.

    Please ensure that you have a structured day and that your students and all accompanying
     adults know what the itinerary is. If you have any queries regarding exhibitions or activities
     please let us know well in advance of your visit if possible. It is very helpful if you contact us
     before your visit so we can monitor how many people are in the museum and advise you on
     the best time to visit.
    Please ensure that your students have been given something to do and know why they have
     come to the museum. Occasionally students are left to wander with nothing to do, which has
     potential for negative behaviour and can lead to increased safety risk and disturbance to
    Care and consideration must be given to all other users of the museum.

   The museum has staff fully trained in first aid should you need assistance. In this event please
     alert your museum teacher if you have one or an Information & Security Officer.
   It is essential that groups adhere to our rules and regulations regarding running in the galleries,
     down the stairs etc. This helps to prevent accidents and ensures that all visitors to the museum
     have a safe visit.
   The museum has full evacuation procedures in case of emergency or fire. All fire exits are
     clearly marked and all staff have received training in evacuation procedures. Please ensure
     that your group understands the importance of following such procedures in the event of an
   The museum has £25 million Public Liability Insurance cover.

    Brighton Museum & Art Gallery can be reached by the following buses
            1. 1A. 2. 2A. 5. 5A. 5B. 7. 12. 12A. 13. 14
            14B. 14C. 17. 20. 21B. 22. 24. 25. 25A
            26. 27. 27A. 28. 28B. 29. 37. 38A. 40. 46
            46A. 47. 49. 49A. 50. 50A. 52. 55. 56. 57
            59. 77. 81. 81A. 81B. 81C. 87. 273. 700
    Coach drop off point is in Church Street BN1 1UD
    Minibus and car parking is available for disabled group visitors but must be booked in advance.
     Please tell us the registration number of the vehicle when you make your booking.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Generic Hazard Sheet – Organised visits

This sheet will enable schools or groups to use this information for the development of visit
risk assessments as required by statutory regulations on Health & safety.

The following hazards have been identified as being inherent to visits to and use of Brighton
Museum & Art Gallery and its facilities. These hazards are themselves subject to individual
risk assessment by this organisation. This list may not include all hazards that may be present
and the Council does not accept liability for omissions to this list.

Control measures indicated are for guidance only and the group must satisfy itself as to their

Hazard                       Recommended Control
Fire                         Evacuate immediately on alarm or if asked by
                             museum staff. Follow all evacuation instructions.
Collision with objects on    No running. Follow instructions on behaviour from
display                      staff.
Reckless behaviour –         Verbal instruction and adult supervision
injury to self and others
Trips, slips, falls          No running. Beware of changing light levels &
                             changing floor levels. Beware of group members
                             and group leaders looking at displays and not at
                             floor. Verbal instruction on hazards.
Doors                        Beware of trapped fingers, automatic doors and
                             collision with glass doors.
Passenger lift               Supervision required
Handling objects –           Follow instructions on behaviour. Do not place
physical injury or toxic     objects or hands in mouth or eyes. Wash hands
reaction                     afterwards.
Arts and Crafts activities   Use only equipment provided or recommended.
Cutting and fastening,       Follow instructions.
choking, paint glue          Adult supervision.
Lunch Room                   Adult supervision required

February 2009

     Group Leader’s Sheet
     Group Leader

          Group Members

    Schedule for the day

   The group should collect information about

  They should use the following galleries/displays

  They need to

Please encourage pupils to ask questions and talk about the things they find. Ask them lots of questions
to encourage them to look at the display closely. Can they find out more from the labels or objects around
Pre Visit Activities

Looking at objects
   Encourage children to find out about materials, how an object was made, colours, feel etc
   Ask them to think about who could have used the objects, why and where it would be used

Example questions for developing investigative skills
 What shape is it?
 What is the object made from?
 What does it feel like?
 What does it smell like?
 Who used it?
 Where and why would it be used?

Other ideas
   Draw an object from a description: children work in pairs. Did they draw the right thing?
    Pairs swap roles
   Create a ‘feely box’ to describe how the object feels and what it might look like
   Watch clips showing shadow puppet shows on

Post Visit Activities

   The children may like to design their own shadow puppet theatre for showcasing their
   The children may like to design their own posters advertising the show

Background information for teachers

You may find it useful to introduce students to these themes and ideas before
the session so that they have some prior knowledge.

Puppet History
Traditional puppet theatres exist in almost every country in the world. One of
the earliest puppets, a monkey character, was discovered in India and may be
over 4,000 years old. There are also early records of plays about legendary
heroes and gods being acted by shadow, rod and marionette puppets in China
and the Far East.

From these early beginnings in Asia, entertainers and their puppets probably
travelled along the great trading routes. As the entertainers moved from place to
place they would stop and perform to the local people. In this way they spread
the art of puppetry across the ancient world.

The Greeks and Romans included puppets in their religious plays, and the first
Christians used them to teach Bible stories. When the Roman Empire fell apart,
actors and puppeteers again travelled across Europe entertaining everyone
from Kings to the crowd in the market place.

Puppets were brought to North America and Australia in the 19th century by
emigrants from Europe. There is some evidence, however, that the North
American Indians and Aboriginal peoples of Australia had their own puppet
tradition before then.

Shadow Puppets
Where shadow puppets originated is difficult to determine – opinions vary.
Mostly it’s thought to be in China – legend has it that Wu-ti, an emperor of the
Han Dynasty, was overwhelmed with grief at the death of his favourite
concubine, and ordered the court magician to summon back her spirit. By using
a darkened chamber and a distant screen, he was able to evoke a resembling
shadow with which apparently the emperor was satisfied. A similar story is told
about the origins of the Turkish shadow show. Both stories make the
connection between shadows and spirits of the dead – this is also true of
Javanese shadow puppet shows (Wayang Kulit).

Shadow puppets are made of wood, metal, paper or various kinds of leather cut
out to form parts of the body and head. They are frequently hinged together with
string, wire, paper fasteners or leather thongs and worked by rods attached to
the upper part of the body and the wrists. Shadow puppets are generally used
in night time performances. The screen of translucent cloth is illuminated from
the performer’s side; the puppets are manipulated between the light source and
the screen. The audience, on the opposite side of the screen, sees the
articulated figures, which are either silhouettes or coloured images.
Traditionally men enjoyed the beauty, colour and design of the characters
because they watched the plays from the same side of the screen as the
puppeteer. Women and children were only allowed to view the play from the
back of the screen so they only saw the shadows.
It might be helpful to bear in mind three factors that characterise Asian puppet
theatre. Firstly, they are often visual means of performing the most valued
stories in a particular community and consequently are of central importance to
the artistic, cultural and social identity of those groups. Secondly. Although in
the West most performance culture has been effectively separated from
religious function since the Renaissance, Asian puppet forms still retain
essential connections to the religious and spiritual beliefs and powers. And
third, puppet shows in Asia are very often presented in the context of
community ritual, not simply as commercial entertainment.

One of the older forms of puppetry in India was the Wayang Purwa. An artist
known as Dalang put on the show. He would operate each character himself
and recite each line in shows that lasted all night. He also operated several
musical instruments and sound-effect items throughout the play. These showd
took a great deal of practice, determination, skill, memorisation as well as talent
on the part of the Dalang. These special performances were usually reserved
for special occasions such as birthdays or weddings of the wealthy and
important people of society.

Another older form of Indian shadow puppetry was the Wayang Kulit, meaning
‘Skin or Hide Performance’. These 18” to 30” tall puppets were made from
heavy leather that was extensively stencilled with intricate designs. There had
to be at least twelve specifically placed, chiselled motifs on each puppet. Each
of these motifs had a specific meaning. The painting of the puppets was as
important as the motifs. The construction of the puppet required everything
being done in an exact order and accompanied by prayer. There was a great
deal of religious connection to many forms of puppetry throughout history.

The Far Eastern shadow puppets of China are other fine examples of shadow
puppets. They are also extremely large and ornate but made of much heavier
leather with stronger rods attached to the necks. The main difference between
Indian and Far Eastern puppetry is found in the play itself. The Chinese puppet
plays portrayed the history and folklore of the people – classic tales about
emperors, heroes, enemies, battles, women and lovers, whereas Indian puppet
theatre often focused on religious tales.

An interesting feature of Chinese puppetry was the colouring of the puppets.
Viewers knew which characters were good or bad by the colours used. Red,
white, gold, black, or blue face colours represented the puppet’s state of mind
and emotions. A figure might be displayed at different times during the show in
different coloured faces to show a change in emotion. Colours also identified
the puppets in India, green is a sign for a hero, god or King. Red or black is a
sign for sinister characters and orange is a sign for women and wise people.

                                                           To find out more please visit
                                             or contact
                                                                 Museum Learning
                                                                   03000 290903
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