artist residency, theater, puppetry, ceramics

WINTER PROGRAM  - Dec 26th - Jan 17, 2010

(1) MYANMAR  - THAILAND - (completed - see documentation)


WINTER PROGRAM  - Dec 26, 2012 - Jan 17, 2013



Sarah Lawrence College

Barnard College

Long Island University/CW Post

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)


The Chiang Mai Puppetry Program aims to provide students with the opportunity to study with master artists from a variety of Asian puppet traditions.

The importance of puppetry to Asian cultures cannot be overstated – for example, the Dalang in Indonesian shadow puppetry is also a priest, and performs puppet shows at weddings, festivals and other culturally significant events. In Japan, the most important writer for the Bunraku puppet-theater is commonly considered to be the “Shakespeare of Japan.”

In the United States however, no such premium is placed on Puppetry. This means that U.S. artists working in puppetry are left to borrow, reinterpret and adapt forms and techniques from other cultures to create their art. For students of theater, puppetry and interdisciplinary art, this means studying with masters of the craft from all over the globe.

The Chiang Mai Puppetry Program aims to connect these masters with U.S. based studio arts students studying an array of disciplines: Theatre, visual art, performance, dance and puppetry.


The Chiang Mai Puppetry Program will be a four-week program conducted in Dec 09/Jan 11, at the Empty Space Arts Center ( located just outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Each year, one or two Masters, selected from the wide range of Asian puppetry forms will be in residence to work with U.S. students on story-telling, construction, manipulation and performance techniques. Examples might include Masters of wayang golek from Java, water puppets from Vietnam, nang kaloung from Cambodia, hun laung from Thailand, pu-tai-hsi from China, or yoke thay from Burma.

Morning workshops taught by the Master in residence will give students a hands-on experience fabricating puppets using traditional methods, as well as an abbreviated course of puppeteer training (abbreviated as most traditions rely on a life-time of study).

These classes will be conducted with English translation – no language training required.

U.S. teachers in residence will conduct afternoon classes.  These teachers will be drawn on a rotating basis from the faculties of Sarah Lawrence, Barnard, CalArts, Pratt, Long Island University and the University of Minnesota. 

One class would be designed to help students synthesize their morning work with the master by orchestrating intensive practice sessions, helping students formulate questions, or by looking at and comparing other puppet techniques. The other class would have a strong cultural studies component to help contextualize the work, prompting students to understand their own study in relation to longer histories of performance traditions of the region, as well as the history of non-Asian artists incorporating Asian techniques into their work.

Guest lecturers from Chiang Mai University might be incorporated into the program to deepen the study of traditional puppetry forms, or to offer small workshops with artists working in related disciplines like traditional dance or mask.

One week of the four will be devoted to educational sightseeing in and around Thailand.

At the end of the four-week session, public performances for the local community will be presented by the students at the Empty Space Arts Center.


Janie Geiser (CalArts)

Dan Hurlin (Sarah Lawrence College)

Manuel Lutgenhorst (Artistic Director of Empty Space Arts Center)

Amy Trompetter (Barnard College)

Master Classes in Asian Puppetry

contact us for more information, interesting projects, collaboration possibilities or references at

Oraphan Lutgenhorst ,169 Moo, Ban Nongha, Nambualong, Sanpatong, Chiangmai 12050, Thailand, Tel / Fax:, +66-03-836094, mobile +66-089-045-8585