Shadow puppetry in a suitcase theatre with Eleanor Glover

Ref: SWE32242

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About this course

An introduction to shadow puppetry, an ancient yet evolving tradition. You will learn how to construct your own moving puppets and sets, and you will make a short performance within a suitcase theatre.

Course Description

The aim of the course is to introduce you to the world of shadow theatre and puppetry. Immediate, unpretentious and magical, it is an ancient yet evolving tradition.

By the end of the course, you should have:

Learnt how to construct a miniature theatre of your own

Designed and made a small number of shadow puppets and a simple set for your own scenario

Made a short storyboard

Begun the process of bringing your puppets to life through performance

A wide range of puppet forms will be demonstrated, and you will be shown how to make a simple suitcase theatre of your own. You will learn how to construct and perform moving puppets for a short scenario within a simple set.

You will work individually, receiving tutorial support and meeting together for group discussion. There will be several demonstrations of techniques, accompanied by a wide variety of samples and examples for reference.

On the introductory evening, shadow films by the tutor and the German animator, Lotte Reiniger, whose work celebrates shadow, will be shown, in order to widen understanding of the potential of the medium.

On the next evening, the tutor will show scenes from her live puppet show.

On the final day, you will be invited to show your puppets performing in action for the group and to film these sequences for each other on a mobile phone.


First Evening:

Introduction to the course and to the art of shadow puppetry. The tutor will bring and demonstrate a shadow suitcase theatre with a group of puppets.

Two short shadow films will be shown.

Day 1:

Demonstration of shadow puppets and effects. Outline of shadow theatre construction.

Learning to make a shadow puppet with moving parts, and how to manipulate it on a theatre screen.

The option to add a second character to interact with the first, and draw up a mini storyboard to develop a very short action sequence.


The tutor will perform scenes from her live puppet show and you will be invited “backstage” afterwards to ask questions about performance and technique.

Day 2 :

You will further develop your characters, then perform your short sequence to the group. Option to record the action for each other in mini video form if you wish.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the college will provide some glue guns for use during the course, along with some glue gun sticks, coloured plastic sheet, steel sheet, magnetic strip, thin dowelling, card, gaffer tape and felt.

What students need to bring

  • PREPARATION: Bring a very short story idea
  • Your drawing book, pencil, ruler
  • Sharp scissors
  • Scalpel or craft knife
  • A large roll of Sellotape, 1” strip width
  • A sewing needle and strong thread
  • A discarded umbrella (for the spokes)
  • Coloured plastic sweet wrappers/ transparent coloured plastic (optional)
  • Stapler
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pritt stick
  • White pencil crayon
  • A mobile phone which can record a basic video (optional – to record puppets in action)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including black acrylic paint, paintbrushes, craft knives or scalpels, clear sellotape, glue sticks, pencils and cartridge paper

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Please wear comfortable clothes.


Eleanor Glover

Eleanor’s early background in book design and wooden toymaking is reflected in her work which spans wooden sculpture, calligraphy and shadow theatre.



Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.