Founded by Benjamin Ho
Established in April 2008, the Paper Monkey Theatre performs plays that fit families, adults, and children audiences using puppet theatre. It aims to create a “lasting, meaningful theatrical experience”. Founded by Singaporean puppeteer and playwright Benjamin Ho, the Paper Monkey Theatre is a child-oriented performing company that teaches cultural and moral values, and encourages artistic development through learning experiences.
Describing their performances in playful-magical-child oriented form, their vision is to develop a theatre space dedicated to children and families through puppet theatre performances that feature societal issues, Asian values, various arts and crafts forms, performances, ideas and cultures. Aside from its physical venue, the company also tours and brings its art to different schools and communities, conducting puppet performances and workshops. They also offer theatre and performance consultancies, designs set, props, costumes, and puppets for schools and organizations.
The artistic director of the Paper Monkey Theatre, Ho, dedicates his life into puppet theatre practice, working thoroughly to integrate entertainment, Asian culture, values and education, conducting performances not just in conventional stage venues but also in multimedia platforms, opening access to a wider and varied audience reach.
The home of Paper Monkey Theatre is located at the Goodman Arts Centre, Goodman Road, Singapore.
FORM AND PROJECTS
The Paper Monkey Theatre, establishing an intimate, collaborative space for puppet theatre practice, opens their stage to varied puppet performance forms such as shadow puppets, table top puppets, mime, traditional and contemporary hand puppets, thunderbolt puppets (glove puppets), and Teochew metal rod puppets to name a few. The puppets and sets are made with a wide variety of materials, from intricate details and canvas, imported, handmade puppets and materials, to household stuff, depending on the performance objectives. The company also innovates and develops puppets from traditional puppet-forms and structures such as their version of modern wayang and modern Chinese hand puppets.
Their performances are a mixture of music, and dialogue (in Mandarin, or English being flashed on a screen on the stage area as subtitles or descriptions) featuring different puppet forms. Age recommendations and requirements are also implemented in selected performances. The artistic director and playwright, Benjamin Ho, penned some of their materials adapting Chinese folktales, legends and Asian stories that teach valuable life philosophies with fictional, animal, and human characters.
No Strings Attached is an annual mini puppetry festival, hosted by the Paper Monkey Theatre that has been running since 2015. The intimate festival features and is joined by other local and international puppetry groups which aims to introduce different puppet performances and forms to the community. Since the project is a collaboration with international acts, the shows are in mime or the English language. The festival’s objective is to encourage local audiences to deeply appreciate puppetry as a craft.
Adaptations of the Paper Monkey Theatre are penned and directed by Benjamin Ho and other playwrights. Almost always based from Chinese folktales and classic stories, their performances feature a mixture of traditional and contemporary practices of puppetry.
Recently staged plays
|No Strings Attached 2019|
Staged in November 2019, featuring performers and puppeteers of Sirikarn Bunjongtad from Thailand, Xue Mei Hua from Taiwan and the Paper Monkey Theatre. Features table top puppets, shadow puppets, mime, and traditional hand puppets.
|Mr. Dong Guo (2019)|
Adaptation of a Chinese classic, featuring traditional and modern puppetry, and contemporary theatrical performance styles (interactive, video projection).
Cast: Andy Yew, Lim Meng Jiat, Renee Chua, Sunny Yang
Director and Playwright: Benjamin Ho
Puppet Designer: Purpink Chung
Stage Manager: Nur Azura Bte Azzimi
|Romance of Mistakes (2019)|
A 10th anniversary offering of the Paper Monkey Theatre, featuring thunderbolt puppets from Taiwan. It is a Mandarin musical comedy adaptation of a classic Beijing opera, directed by Benjamin Ho with music composition by Liong Kit Yeng.
Video: No Strings Attached 2018 Highlights: https://youtu.be/kjERzM8JZfI
Hold My Hand 2020 Presented by Esplanade: https://fb.watch/2W9G6RbnhJ/
Sources and References:
Paper Monkey Theatre website. http://www.papermonkey.com.sg/
Paper Monkey Theatre Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/PaperMonkeyTheatre/
History of Singaporean Art. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Huffman, S. (2018, July 10). Taiwanese Puppetry – Continuing a Rich Tradition. Taiwan Business
Topics. Retrieved from https://topics.amcham.com.tw/2018/07/taiwanese-puppetry-continuing-a-rich-tradition/