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Patricia Bergeron

Performing arts
Shadow theatre


Patricia Bergeron and Joëlle Tougas

Patricia Bergeron has worked in the theatre milieu since graduating from UQAM's theatre school in 1998. She has played as an actress and puppeteer in over a dozen productions, on tour in Québec and abroad, and for professional companies like Carbone 14, Théâtre de la Dame de Cœur, l'Illusion Théâtre and Théâtre Quatre/Corps. She has taken workshops in Canada, Italy and France on masks, puppeteering and shadow theatre (particularly with the Italian company of shadow theatre Gioco Vita). She has taught many workshops over the years to children, teenagers and adults. In the shows that she directs, she integrates masks, shadow theatre and puppets. In 2007 she founded her own company the Théâtre À l'Envers in which she produced a young theatre play with shadow theatre, puppets and actors called Woânda, which she wrote and directed.

Joëlle Tougas studied scenography at École supérieur de théâtre of UQAM. During those years, she discovered a passion for puppets and shadow theatre. After her scholarship, she started working as a technician at Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui. Meanwhile, she learned more about puppet and shadow theatre in workshops, which were offered by Théâtre sans Fil (a company that works with giant puppets) with instructor Louis Ayotteor and by AQM with instructors Alain Lavallée, Marcelle Hudon and Alain Boisvert, all of whom are experts in the art of shadow theatre. Joëlle also worked as a puppeteer in two productions of the Repentigny-based company Le RIRE, before founding her own company: Théâtre À l'Envers. She now works part-time on TAE's projects and tours around the world with Dynamo Théâtre.

Proposed approach and type of activities

The purpose of the workshop, offered in a short version (between 1 and 2 ½ hours) and a long version (2 or 3 days), is to introduce students to shadow theatre and to the steps involved in creating a shadow theatre piece. The proposed activities will allow participants to develop their imagination and their manual skills in plastic arts, in addition to promoting teamwork and oral and written expression.

The short version (one session) includes an introduction to shadow theatre with a big screen and the light of an overhead projector. Many games are proposed by the artists to demystify shadow theatre. The second part of the workshop gives students the opportunity to create a short play behind a small screen with puppets provided by the artist (s). Students are called upon to create the story, the sets and ultimately, to present the final result in front of the entire class.

The long version could be divided into three sessions. During the first session, the artists will demystify shadow theatre through exploratory games that will familiarize students with the different creative steps involved in developing a show.

After a brainstorming session with a theme suggested by the moderators, the participants will create a bank of characters, physical characteristics, places and actions. After all of these ideas are jotted down, the participants will complete a scenario in teams based on an incomplete story suggested by the artists.

During the second session, students will be put into groups and will design a storyboard of scenes to play (a work model). They will learn to recognize the different components of a story: introduction, plot, protagonist or hero, mission, opponent (s), adventures, ending, conclusion ... They will then begin manufacturing cardboard silhouettes and decorative designs on acetates.

The third session will allow students to finish making cardboard silhouettes and decorative sets on acetates and to rehearse their scenario in front of a little screen with a light projector. They are invited to present their work, a shadow puppet piece, in front of their class.

Examples of activities

  • The workshop gives teachers enough material to link it to the subjects that they teach in class (natural sciences, French, geography, etc). Owing to its flexible structure, the workshop can be part of a special project centering on integrating the arts in education.
  • Introduction to shadow theatre - Behind a big white sheet and with a projector used as a light source, students experiment creating shadows with their hands and body. With the help of simple exercises, the artists teach the basics of shadow theatre: perspective, proportions, possible transformations, etc ...
  • Brainstorming on given themes (e.g.: a farm) - Students must choose characters, features, action verbs and objects, which will be recorded for the bank of words that will be used to create a scenario.
  • The incomplete scenario - Written by the artists, different incomplete scenarios are handed out to the students. The scenarios must be completed with the help of the bank of words and will be used as the storyline for the shadow theatre piece that they will create.
  • Storyboard design - In teams and with an incomplete scenario, students draw four moments of their story divided in four boxes. Cutting and simplifying scenes like this makes rehearsing for shadow theatre easier.
  • Making of cardboard silhouettes and sets - by following examples of silhouettes distributed to the students by the moderators, students create their own characters by cutting them out of black cardboard or cereal boxes. The sets are drawn on acetate sheets with coloured markers.
  • Rehearsals and presentation – As part of a team, each student will have a role to play in the presentation of the scenario: narrator, set manipulator, etc ...

Special conditions

The artists provide the materials needed for the workshop: screens, cord, small wood studs, colour gels, tracing paper and sheets of acetate, at a maximum cost of $75 per day. The school must provide recycled cardboard, a projector and a space that is completely dark or dark enough.

For information

Patricia Bergeron
Phone : 514 490-0616
Fax : 514 490-0616
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



Kindergarten, Primary 1, Primary 2, Primary 3, Primary 4, Primary 5, Primary 6

Available in

In every regions

Other language(s)


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