Discovering the Art of the Shadow with Manual Cinema

In this workshop, students in the A Show of Hands class explored the possibilities and craft of performant storytelling. Artists from Manual Cinema exposed the multitude of layers that go into their work and how light, shadow, sound, music, and time work together to create a story-telling experience that has a lasting impression … all without iPhones, fancy cameras, and computers. Students watched their interpretation of Christmas Carol and got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the puppets and storyboard from Co-Artistic Director, Sarah Fornace.


MANUAL CINEMA is an Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio, and film/ video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. The company was awarded an Emmy Award in 2017 for “The Forger,” a video created for The New York Times and named Chicago Artists of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Their shadow puppet animations will be featured in the film remake of Candyman debuting September 2020, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions.

Learn more about this course.

A Show of Hands is an Elective class in the Global Stories Series

Hiu To

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