Chinese Theatre Works offer a wide variety of short and long term residencies, workshops, lecture-performances, and seminars in Chinese opera and shadow theater, which we have present in schools, universities, museums and libraries around the city, nationally and internationally. Our master teaching artists conduct a range of Arts in Education programs, designed to introduce students and youth to Chinese culture and performance, with curriculum, visual materials and hands-on training that can be adjusted to any age set or skill level-- from pre-school to professional.
In Chinese opera all stage movement, even the simplest, is choreographed as a dance. The movement patterns are fluid, circular and bigger than life. This workshop introduces the wide range of gestures and postures that combine to build a character’s identity on stage. Participants will learn the basic vocabulary of traditional stage choreography as well as simple gestural and walking sequences.
Face Painting Workshop
In Chinese theater, the actors paint their faces to represent the inner qualities of the character they are playing. This workshop will introduce this unique language of color, and symbols that have been developed over centuries by Chinese Opera performers. The teaching artists will explain the visual language of face painting and also paint participants’ faces with a traditional designs and also lead them to create their own personal “Painted Faces.”
Costumes and props Workshop
On the Chinese Opera stage, elaborate costumes and props give the audience a detailed reading of a character’s social status and identity. Hand-held props, such as fans, ribbons, horsewhips and weapons also carry meaning. This workshop introduces some of these fascinating dancing objects and teaches participants how to “read” the stories inside the design of the embroidered silk clothes, hairdos and headdresses.
CTW puppet making workshops guide participants through the entire process of planning, designing, building a simple puppet figure or create a short puppet production. In the process, we teach a wide range of performance and building methods that will help participants develop their own ideas.
Traditional Shadow Theater Workshop
Chinese shadow performance (“Pi-Ying”) has a history going back 2000 years. The traditional shadow theater uses beautifully carved and colored animal-skin figures, manipulated behind cloth screens in order to portray vivid episodes from history, religion, literature and folktale. CTW artists will introduce participants to this fascinating artform (the root of all motion picture media) and lead them in designing and building their own shadow figures.
Overhead Projector shadow Workshop
The ancient art form of shadow puppetry has rebooted for the current century, using overhead projectors to make large graphic moving images. Participants are guided through the process of making their own shadow figures out of transparencies, markers, paper, wire, fabric and gel and small found objects. For longer workshops, participants team up and work together to create short performances.
Hand Puppetry Workshop
The traditional style of Chinese glove puppets (“bu daixi”) are some of the liveliest stage performers and the simplest to learn. A truly hands-on learning experience in performing and making these delightful puppets.
Toy Theater Workshop
Before people had laptops, VCRs or TVs, they often created their own home entertainments inside of simple cardboard model stages. CTW artists will guide participants to design, build and perform with simple flat figures.