Chinese Shadow Puppetry Forum with Dr. Rollins on 12/5 at 7 p.m.

For its last installment of the 2019 Fall Puppet Forum Series, and in conjunction with the exhibit Immaterial Remains: Can You Preserve a Shadow? curated by Dr. Annie Katsura Rollins, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host Chasing Ghosts: Ten Years with the Shadow Puppeteers of China with Dr. Rollins on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Downtown Storrs. 

Dr. Rollins embarked on an initial research trip to China in 2008 to reconnect with her Chinese heritage, to gain unique shadow puppetry skills and techniques, and to eat some incredible food for the duration of that summer apprenticeship. What she left with at the end of the summer was an insatiable need to understand how this material performance form had been passed down for over a thousand years and what it means to steward transmitted heritage through performance and shadows. This talk reflects on over a decade of apprenticeship and research with the traditional shadow puppeteers of China and the importance and (im)possibilities of chasing our own ghosts. Co-sponsored by UConn’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute and the UConn Asian American Cultural Center.

Dr. Rollins is a researcher, theatre artist, and practitioner of Chinese shadow puppetry, studying as a traditional apprentice since 2008. Rollins has received a Fulbright Fellowship, the Confucius Institute Joint PhD Research Fellowship and a Canadian SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for her research. She wrote her dissertation in Concordia University’s Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD program on the transmission of traditional Chinese shadow puppet making methods. Recent venues for exhibitions, lectures and performances include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, the Linden Center in Yunnan, China, and the Rietveld Academie in the Netherlands. Annie has published articles in Puppetry International, Asian Theatre Journal and Anthropology Now. Rollins recently launched the first English language comprehensive Chinese shadow puppetry site at

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