Object Puppetry Masterclass 2023

May – August, 8-10 weeks (Every Saturday)

10.00am – 1:00pm (Subject to changes)

Tree House @ Paper Monkey Theatre
Goodman Arts Centre
90 Goodman Road, Blk B, #01-05
Singapore 439053

No. of classes:
8 – 10 sessions

Course Fee:

Fee: $450 for 10 sessions

Early bird special: Register by 30 April 2023 for 20% off ($360)

A $100 deposit will be paid before class commences and returned after it ends. If 100% attendance is not fulfilled without valid reason for absence, the deposit will be forfeited.

For any further enquiries, please contact us.

About Paper Monkey Puppetry Masterclass

Paper Monkey Masterclass started from the urgent need to address the dwindling number of puppeteers and artists who possesses puppetry skill sets in Singapore, which greatly places this art form at risk of losing its relevance.

Our Masterclass seeks to provide foundational training for puppetry to arts practitioners, with a focus on it as a core discipline. It hopes to sustain its relevance by inspiring more practitioners to develop a love and deep passion for puppetry, and to encourage the production of more puppetry works thereafter, and for the future generations to gain access to this art form.

It is a pity that many puppetry masters have passed. During the 60s & 70s, puppetry was at its peak. Today, people are surprised when they know that puppeteers still exist… Paper Monkey felt the need to have Masterclass so that we can pass on not just the traditional, but also modern techniques of puppetry.

What Can You Achieve?

The Masterclass focuses on a specific form of puppetry every year.

This year, we are launching classes for ‘Object Puppetry’. There is wondrous liberation in Object Puppetry play.  Any found object can become a puppet. Animators find the possibilities in movement, sound and character for the object. A lightbulb becomes a “genius”, a ribbon becomes a “dancer”, a cane becomes “authority”.

Though performances may use full stage, many performances are presented on a tabletop with one narrator-manipulator presenting all the “object-characters” and with their own voice. The metre space is transformed into the play’s entire universe.  

As abstraction is already implicit in the choice of an object as living/talking/performing, the genre invites the audience into non-literal thinking. Metaphor, humour, and poetic thinking are evoked by the genre. A little red book becomes “Chairman Mao”, a miniature Statue of Liberty becomes “President Nixon” and the two could meet to discuss world issues represented by a map of continents with statistics. Performers may present with a simple set of objects in the open air public space or within enclosed spaces which can host more elaborate designs which mix objects, shadows, projections, lights and sound.

The Masterclass Participants will sit through 10 lessons with a mix of theory and practical sessions that introduces its history, manipulation techniques, logic and skills of puppet building and making, as well as movement planning. For a holistic learning experience, participants will have a chance to practically apply their skills acquired during the masterclass through participating in a Paper Monkey’s main season festival “No Strings Attached” happening in December 2023 (subject to changes). Participants will receive a separate agreement for their participation in a main festival showcase. Outstanding participants will also be selected for apprenticeship with Paper Monkey for a year.


Interested applicants need not have experience in puppetry, however, should have at least 2 years of relevant performing arts or theatre training, as well as a deep passion for the performing arts.

Please still write-in to us if you do not have the aforementioned experience.


Interested applicants may email your CV + letter of interest to us. We will contact you shortly for an interview.
A letter of agreement will be issued to masterclass participants upon successful application.
A total of 8 – 10 applicants will be selected to participate in Masterclass 2022.

Application Process

1st April 2023: Application opens
5th May 2023: Application closes, interview + selection
12th – 19th May 2023: Successful applicants will be contacted
27th May 2023: Masterclass commences

Course Fee

Fee: $450 for 10 sessions
Early bird special: Register by 30 April 2023 for 20% off ($360)
A $100 deposit will be paid before class commences and returned after it ends. If 100% attendance is not fulfilled without valid reason for absence, the deposit will be forfeited.

Tentative Programme Outline and Schedule

Participants should be committed to make themselves available, particularly during the masterclass training period from week 1 – 10. The number of classes (8 – 10 sessions) are subjected to changes based on the pace, progress and the needs of the participants.

Week Date Key Activity Remarks
1 27 May Introduction to Object Puppetry

– Three Kinds

Masterclass – Compulsory
2 10 Jun
3 17 Jun Hand Puppet Manipulation
– Hand Stretches-Discovering objects- Basic Object Puppetry Manipulation Techniques
4 24 Jun
5 1 Jul
6 8 Jul
7 15 Jul Designing and Building Puppets

Story-telling with the puppets

8 22 Jul
9 29 Jul
10 5 Aug
11 – 13 Rest Rest Main Season Production
14-17 July Production Rehearsals
Chinese Diction Classes
18-19 Rest Rest
20-21 Mid-End Aug Production Rehearsal
22 Early Sept Show Dates TBC

About The Instructor

Paper Monkey Artistic Director Benjamin Ho

Benjamin Ho had a long history with the arts and puppetry. He was trained by the late Li Bo Fen, China’s acclaimed puppet artist. Besides his role as the artistic director of a children’s puppetry company Paper Monkey Theatre, he is also currently the president of UNIMA SG (United Nation of International Marionette Association).

As an arts educator, Benjamin Ho created an avenue where the young of today can understand and enjoy the rich cultures of Asia through puppetry. He has shared his great love with local audience through many productions with companies, such as TheatreWorks, The Theatre Practice, The Finger Players, Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble, The Necessary Stage, W!ld Rice and Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Arts and Cultural Troupe; and audience abroad through participation of various puppetry festivals in Asia and Europe.

In 2017, his production – The Magic Lantern was awarded the Best Production for the Young by 2017 M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Award.

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