“Wayang Puppet Theater of Indonesia” with Matthew Cohen on 5/1 at 7 p.m.

For its final installment of the 2019 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host Wayang Puppet Theater of Indonesia: Collective Creativity and Individual Agency with Dr. Matthew Cohen on Wednesday May 1 at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs.

Traditions of puppet theater in western Indonesia–wayang kulit, wayang golek, and wayang klithik–were once inseparable from communal rites and spirit beliefs and flourished in situations of collective creativity. With modernization and globalization, wayang puppet theaters have become media for moral guidance, secular entertainments, and symbols of local identity, and named artists (puppeteers as well as puppet makers) have become more prominent and assertive of individual agency. This talk, illustrated by puppets from the unmatched Dr. Walter Angst and Sir Henry Angest Collection of Indonesian Puppets at Yale University Art Gallery, explores the dynamics of collective and individual agency in wayang during the colonial and postcolonial periods as a reflex of the changing world.

Matthew Isaac Cohen, Ph.D. is Professor of International Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and Institute of Sacred Music Fellow in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts at Yale University for the academic year 2018-2019. He is a leading expert on Indonesian performing arts and performs wayang on occasion under the company banner of Kanda Buwana.

Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our puppet exhibitions, as well as the video resources in our library nook. Forums will be broadcast via Facebook Live. For more information, or if you require an accommodation to attend a forum, please contact Ballard Institute staff at 860.486.8580 or bimp@uconn.edu.