Women and Puppetry : Critical and Historical Investigations book cover
1st Edition

Women and Puppetry
Critical and Historical Investigations

ISBN 9780415787390
Published May 15, 2019 by Routledge
242 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Women and Puppetry is the first publication dedicated to the study of women in the field of puppetry arts. It includes critical articles and personal accounts that interrogate specific historical moments, cultural contexts, and notions of "woman" on and off stage.

Part I, "Critical Perspective," includes historical and contemporary analyses of women’s roles in society, gender anxiety revealed through the unmarked puppet body, and sexual expression within oppressive social contexts. Part II, "Local Contexts: Challenges and Transformations," investigates work of female practitioners within specific cultural contexts to illuminate how women are intervening in traditionally male spaces. Each chapter in Part II offers brief accounts of specific social histories, barriers, and gender biases that women have faced, and the opportunities afforded female creative leaders to appropriate, revive, and transform performance traditions. And in Part III, "Women Practitioners Speak," contemporary artists reflect on their experiences as female practitioners within the art of puppet theatre.

Representing female writers and practitioners from across the globe, Women and Puppetry offers students and scholars a comprehensive interrogation of the challenges and opportunities that women face in this unique art form.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Notes on Contributors


Jane Taylor



Alissa Mello and Claudia Orenstein

Part I: Critical Perspectives on Women in Puppet Theatre

Chapter 1

The Monster and the Corpse: Puppetry and the Uncanniness of Gender Performance

Laura Purcell-Gates

Chapter 2

Modes of Pleasure: Contemporary Feminist Erotic Puppet Theatre from İstanbul with Love

Deniz Başar

Chapter 3

Women, Marriage, and Femininities: Kkokdu Gaksi Geori (or the "Love Triangle" Scene) in the Korean Traditional Puppet Play

Kyounghye Kwon

Chapter 4

Erasure, Intervention, and Reconstruction: Imagining Women Puppeteers in Myanmar

Jennifer Goodlander

Part II: Local Contexts: Challenges and Transformations

Chapter 5

Werewere Liking, Vicky Tsikplonou, and Adama Lucie Bacco: Female Artists Appropriating Puppetry to Empower Women in West Africa

Heather Jeanne Denyer

Chapter 6

Class, Gender, and Ritual Puppetry: Negotiating Revival for the Hakomawashi Puppeteers of Tokushima, Japan

Claudia Orenstein

Chapter 7

Whispering Women, Shouting Puppets: Women and Puppetry in Iran

Salma Mohseni Ardehali

Chapter 8

Suffragette Judy: Punch and Judy at Suffrage Fairs and Exhibitions in Edwardian London

Naomi Paxton

Part III: Women Practitioners Speak

Chapter 9

Women and Objects

Ana Alvarado

Chapter 10

An Expanded Language

Yngvild Aspeli

Chapter 11

My Career as a Puppeteer in Taiwan

Chia-yin Cheng, with assistance from Chee-Hann Wu

Chapter 12


Theodora Skipitares

Chapter 13

Kenyan Women in Puppet Theater

Parmeres (Veronica) Silanka

Chapter 14

Papermoon Puppet Theatre: The Journey of Making Contemporary Puppet Theatre Come Alive in The Land of Java

Maria (Ria) Tri Sulistyani

Chapter 15

A Fragile Form

Janni Younge


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Alissa Mello is an independent theatre artist and scholar, whose research interests include women and performance, as well as practice and social justice. Her publications include a chapter in Undisciplining Dance in 9 Movements and 8 Stumbles (2018), and articles in Performance Research, Puppetry International and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art.

Claudia Orenstein is professor of theatre at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has spent over a decade writing on puppetry, and her publications include The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (co-editor) and Festive Revolutions: The Politics of Popular Theatre and the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

Cariad Astles is course leader for the BA in puppetry at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and lecturer in Drama at Exeter University, UK. She specialises in training and directing for puppetry performance and in the use of puppets within healthcare. Her publications include International Puppetry Research: Tracing Past and Present, "Puppetry and dictatorship" in Performing (for) Survival: Theatre, Crisis and Extremity, and "Puppetry Training in Contemporary Live Theatre" in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training.


"This co-edited volume takes strides in object theatre’s performance history, and does additional service by interrogating gender issues, past and present. The book shows that writing about puppetry and women is necessary, especially as the work of women in puppetry accelerates internationally."

- KATHY FOLEY, Asian Theatre Journal, University of California-Santa Cruz