Itinerary 2008-2016


June-July: Shanghai

Checking in with Qin Feng, director of the puppetry program at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.


April: Hebei Province

Returning to the Lu Family of puppet makers; Returning to the Longzaitian company in Beijing to observe their expansion; Returning to Luanzhou (formerly known as Luanxian) to see their new shadow puppet museum.

March: Beijing

Getting settled with my new affiliate university, Beijing Normal University/北京师范大学 and checking in with the Confucius Institute Headquarters/汉办. This year of research funding has been graciously provided by a Confucius Institute Joint Research PhD Fellowship/孔子新汉学计划


July: Tencghong, Yunnan

Returned to Tengchong to meet up with one of my favorite troupes for an update.

June: Nanchong, Sichuan Province

Heading to Nanchong to attend the first ever UNIMA Asia Puppet Festival!  There’s sure to be many of my shadow colleagues and I hope to meet some new ones too.

May: Huanxian, Gansu Province

Returned to Gansu for an extended research and study period with the Masters in Huanxian, Gansu.


Sept 13th-22nd: Beijing

Met up with Tianxiang and his sister in Beijing as they were visiting with Maomao (who works at the Beijing shadow hotel and helped out with our shadow bike show in 2012).


December 9th-12th: Amsterdam

Back to the Netherlands – this time to Amsterdam to visit with friend and fellow shadow artist Serge Onnen and give a presentation at the Reitveld Academy.

November 23rd-December 8th: Taiwan

My first trip to Taiwan!  I visit with the Taiyuan Puppet company and the Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum to take a look at their collection, their current project and join them on some fieldwork trips.

November 11th-22nd: Rotterdam

Shadow puppet collaboration with Droomtheatre in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  We are similarly interested in Chinese shadow puppetry as a traditional art form that promotes community building and cultural continuity and how we can apply those elements in different contexts.

October 26th & 27th: Connecticut

Presenting my work at the first ever Chinese Shadow Puppet symposium (in America) at the Ballard Institute of Puppetry/University of Connecticut.  Very honored to be presenting alongside veterans Fan Pen Chen, Mary E. Hirsch, Bradford Clark and Stephen Kaplin & Kuang-yu Fong of Chinese Theatre Works.

June 2012: Minneapolis, Minnestoa

Premiere of my new work for the shadow theatre: There’s Nothing To Tell (没有什么可说)at In the Heart of the Beast Theatre.

June 9-14th: Beijing/Tangshan

Visit with the Lu family, perform a new Hutong Shadow Bike Tour .

June 5-9th: Shaanxi Province

Met with Hua Xian Shadow Troupe, visited a countryside performance, brushed up on cutting lessons with Master Wang Tien Wen and Wang Yan.

Visit with collector Yang Fei

May 28th-June 4th: Chengdu, China

UNIMA World Puppetry Festival   (

May 23-27th: Changsha, Hunan Province

Meetings with the Hunan Puppet and Shadow Art Protection and Inheritance Center of China (this site may not work from the US) and visiting local troupes.

May 18-22rd: Hong Kong

Meeting with Simon Wong of the Mingri Children’s Theatre Company, attending the Mini Festival of World Shadow Puppetry and general Hong Kong wanderings.


Itinerary for my 2011 Fulbright Journey: February – December 2011 

December 19th: Minneapolis, Minnesota


December 11th-19th: Beijing

Saying goodbye to a most awesome year.

December 6-10th: Xiaoyi, Shanxi Province

As of 2006 there was a shadow puppet troupe in this town – but no one I talked to had seen or heard from them since. My first ever true puppet hunt.

December 1st – 6th: Taishan, Shandong Province

Met and worked with Taishan Shadow Puppetry; One Performer Tradition: Shandong Province

November 8th – November 28th: Beijing

Working with Taiyuan Puppet Company from Taiwan as they collaborate with Beijing shadow artists.

Performance intensive work with Master Liu and Longzaitian.

November 2rd-November 8th: Yunmeng, Hubei Province

Met and worked with puppet master and maker, Qin Ligang at his Teahouse in the city.  

October 30th-November 1st: Dali, Yunnan Province

Lecture and workshop at the Linden Centre

October 21th-October 29th: Tengchong, Yunnan Province

Practical study with Yunnan cutter Liu An Hui and meeting with Yunnan performance troupe in Tengchong.

October 7-17th: Chengdu 

Return trip for visual research at the Chengdu Shadow Puppet Museum and the Sichuan University Museum.

August 28-September 2nd: Gansu Province

Trip to Huan Xian, Gansu for the 3rd Shadow Puppet and Folk Art Festival.  Met and talked with performers and puppet artists from around the country.  Saw approximately 10 traditional and 10 modern performances.

Mid-August to End of September: Xian/HuaXian/Weinan and Countryside

Continued study with YuTian WenHua and Shaanxi Provincial Folk Art Theatre

Countryside performance documentation in HuaXian/Weinan and nearby communities

August 16-19th: Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province:

Visited and studied with the shadow puppet leather makers; Cow, sheep and deer skins; Machine and hand made.

Mid-July to Mid-August: Beijing, NE China

Created a touring shadow show on the back of my bicycle.  A mini-show presenting Hutong culture to a Hutong audience.  My first attempt at peformance as research; a success and a roaring good time.

Continued study with Zhonghua Shadow troupe for performance and cutting techniques, Beijing style.

Re-connected with puppet master Lu Hai

August 2-5th: Second trip to Tangshan, Hebei Province

Practical leather cutting study with Tianxiang and his father, Master Lu

Practical leather painting study with Yishu

Conference Trip to London July 5-12th

Presented a poster session of my current findings at Royal Holloway’s conference on Performance Asia.  A most enlightening conference.

More information on the conference here:

June 14-21st: TangShan in Hebei Province, NE China

Practical study and interview with Tianxiang and his father, Master Lu.

Met with Tangshan Provincial Museum

Met with Mr. Wang, a high-level government artist and shadow puppet researcher

June 10th-Early July: Beijing, NE China

Continued study with Zhonghua Shadow troupe for performance and cutting techniques, Beijing style.

Puppet cutting for the Zhonghua Shadow troupe performances

June 6-9th: Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, Mid-eastern Coast of China

Teaching at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, puppet-making workshop with fellow Fulbright Fellow Michael Leibenluft.

May 10th-June 1st: Return to Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, Northern Central China

Study with YuTian WenHua: cutting, puppet painting and joinery.

Studying shadow puppet performance with Shaanxi Provincial Folk Art Theatre

April 23th – May 10th: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Mid-western China

Met with retired Professor Jiang from Sichuan University, Chinese shadow play scholar.

Trip to the Northeastern mountain range of Sichuan to catch a countryside performance of the Bazhong Shadow Play Troupe.

Mer with Chengdu Museum; photographed their shadow puppet collection.

April 6th – April 25th: Xian, Shaanxi Province, Northern Central China

Met up with Hua Xian Shadow Play troupe

Apprenticeship with master puppet cutter with WangYan

Met with Shaanxi Provincial Troupe shadow puppetry members

March 5th – April 5th: Beijing, Hebei Province, NE China

Met affiliates at National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts; Peking Opera class and Scenic Design Class, Lecture

Met shadow puppet master Lu Hai

Met & studying with Beijing Shadow Show Troupe (Master Lu BanGong)

Shadow play workshop with TsingHua Academy High School and Middle School

Met & working with HanFeiZi.  Progressive new company blending old Chinese forms of performance (including shadow and Peking Opera).

Meet and interview the ZhongHua Shadow Company; the little persons troupe and school in residence at the Summer Palace Theatre.

February 23rd – March 5th: Hong Kong/Macau, Southern China

Fulbright Mid-year Conference

One response to “Fieldwork

  1. Mary Warpeha

    Great stories. This sounds like the ultimate adventure and you are making the most out of your travel and study. Congratulations. Enjoy to the end.

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