Shadow Puppet Laboratory

John Lewandowski will be offering a three-day stage/workshop in Shadow Theater; it’s origins to contemporary forms. The course will focus on: shadow puppet construction and manipulation, light sources from a candle to video projections, and the dramaturgy of traditional and contemporary shadow puppet theater. The class will explore the various uses of the shadow screen and multiple light sources. Shadow puppet will be constructed using stained glass painting techniques as well as large-scale opaque shadows. Participants should wear comfortable black clothing. The class is limited to 15 participants and will be June 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

john si irina

John Lewandowski and Irina Niculescu on the premiere ”Romeo and Juliet”

”This is my first time to participate in the Babel Festival in Targoviste.
I was invited to offer a workshop in Shadow Theater to young adults and a few professional performers. Shadow Theater and Shadow puppets are not used or seen very often in Romania. It is considered one of the oldest forms of theater in the world, with its origins in China, Indonesia, India and many other far eastern countries. There are examples of shadow puppets that are over 4000 years old.

I have used this form of theater for many years. In the USA I developed a repertoire of shadow puppet performances based on classical music. We performed large show shows with major symphony orchestras across the country. Like the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and many others. We used a very large shadow screen, 5 meters long and 3 meters tall with brightly colored puppets that resemble stained glass in movement.

The Babel Festival is an extremely important event for the city of Targoviste. This type of event is an opportunity to bring together the community and local and international artists to celebrate the importance of cultural in our lives. This event is also very important for the local economy. This is often over looked. The arts are often one of the best “return on investment” activities for a city or community. The festival fills the hotels, fills the restaurant and engages hundreds of volunteers. This activity makes the city known internationally and an attractive destination for tourists and arts lovers.

The idea of “Babel”, the place where many different cultures meet and celebrate life is a great choice for the principal theme. The body as tools for creating life, love, and constructing a future is also a nice sub-theme.

This my second experience with the Tony Bulandra Theater, very different that the first experience of creating the puppets and music for Romeo and Juliet. I hope to return in the future and would be excited to create a performance with Shadow Theater for children and adults and introduce them to a wonderful form of expression that is rarely seen in this region.

I have also attached a photo form the workshop and another photo from a shadow performance I created in the USA.


John Lewandowski”


A short CV for John Lewandowski:

John began his career as an actor on Broadway, working with the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater. In the late 70’s he joined the Underground Railway Theater and created a series of innovative youth concerts that included puppets. The shows were performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony and many other major Orchestras. From 1986 to 89 he co-directed the professional training program in Puppet Theater at the Royal Norwegian Theater, the Riksteatret, Oslo Norway. From 1990 to 2005 John and his family lived in Geneva Switzerland where he was the Artistic Director of the Geneva Marionette Theater, a historic state theater where he created shows for families and launched international cultural exchange programs with Taiwan, Romania, France, Norway, Spain and the USA. In 2006 John came to Cincinnati to take the position of Artistic Executive Director at Madcap Productions until 2015.