Interdisciplinary Project: Laos Puppetry

In the first few months of 2018, 19 students from Screen Media, Theatre, Dance and Fine Art worked on the sixth edition of the puppetry Inter-disciplinary project (IDP) to Laos. As part of the IDP, the students visited Vientiane to research and document the process of making Laos puppets. The four-day learning trip in February allowed students to interview and interact with puppet masters from both the Lao National Puppet Theatre and Khaoniew Theatre Group. NAFA started this project eight years ago, and have since documented puppetry in Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

This IDP project aims to raise awareness of this rare art form of puppetry in Southeast Asia by documenting the preparation and performance of different puppetry in the region. This project also serves as a platform for artistic youths in Singapore to create works as a collective voice for the traditional arts in the SEA region. It hopes to foster a sense of belonging among the arts community by documenting and sharing the rich cultural and arts heritage.

This cross-cultural learning instigates multi-layer knowledge of puppetry in Southeast Asia. The act of documenting and creating works from the almost distant art form is an important step for youths to embrace contemporary practices leveraging on traditions and cultural heritage.

The project concluded with a screening of two documentaries done by the students, as well as a small exhibition.