ShadowStage Productions 
The UK's first professional company dedicated to contemporary shadow theatre techniques 

Hang Ups - Short Film featuring contemporary shadow theatre


View our entry to the RSA/Nominet Trust Competition, 2011
Not a conventional story.
Not a conventional approach.
Not conventional theatre.

Here's how the kind of Contemporary Shadow Theatre work we do can shed light on something totally different:

 


Contact us to find out how Contemporary Shadow Theatre work can help shed light on YOUR ideas - whether in commerce; business; classical, contemporary, or other music, including music videos; documentary or other film or even Academia. We're always keen to take the work we do into different areas, reach new audiences and collaborate with others. We'd be delighted to hear from you.
It starts...

... with the first light hitting the first object... with Pliny's love story of a Corinthian girl who traces around the shadow of her lover on a wall to keep him near her when he goes off to war... with Plato's cave in which our perception of reality is likened to shadows cast by events outside the cave. Our engagement with shadow is inextricably linked to perceptions of time and space, form and feeling, reality and illusion. Why is it we find shadows so powerful?
 
There are many reasons - one of the most compelling, perhaps, is that the shadow of a human being projected on a screen leaves so much more to the imagination than the theatrical experience of seeing an actor on stage, in set and costume. There is also the magic of illusion that is intrinsic to the form.

Where we stand in relation to shadow theatre

Shadow theatre comes in many forms - most people are familiar with the traditional forms of shadow puppetry, famous in the Far East; or hand puppetry, popular in Paris in the early 20th Century with a strong living tradition in Japan today.
 
Shadow Stage Productions respects these traditions but situates itself firmly in a different field - that of Contemporary Shadow Theatre.
 
Contemporary Shadow Theatre is a technique that developed thanks to the invention of the halogen bulb which allowed a clear shadow to be cast irrespective of the distance an object was from the screen. Previously, objects had to be placed against the screen to get a clear shadow.
 
The new advances allowed performers to explore new potential avenues of work ... early experiments included performers breaking through screens, working with moveable screens, bringing the performer/storyteller to the fore, and not limiting themselves to projecting shadows on a flat background, even taking contemporary shadow theatre to the open air and creating 'son et lumiere' type shows using the form in late night performances in open spaces.
 
ShadowStage Productions positions itself clearly in this path of development. We are keen to work with traditional techniques, master the world of contemporary shadow theatre and actively seek to break new ground in the form, to give life to an entire piece from staging to mise-en-scene to text and performance through the medium of contemporary shadow theatre. Questions which lead our exploration are perennial ones, to do with space and time, and our relation to them ... what we want to explore is how shadows can cast light on this, how they can help us break through new ground.
 

Turning traditional theatre on its head

Contemporary Shadow Theatre, in many ways, reverses the conventional theatrical norms that actors are generally trained in. At Shadow Stage Productions, we think this is exciting!
 
How often do you have an opportunity to totally rethink what you've been doing? How often do costume designers and lighting designers get to lead the development of a production? How often can illustrators and model makers take active part in a theatrical production? With Contemporary Shadow Theatre, this is the norm. We wouldn't have it any other way!
 

Interested in using contemporary shadow theatre?
Leon Conrad, founder of ShadowStage is available for consultancy and advice.
To contact Leon, use the contact form here.


Picture Info
Closing Scene from 'Under The Arabian Moon'
The Roundhouse, August 2009
Shadow Theatre Performer: Monooka
Photo Credit: Andre Stefano