Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Tasmania Australia and the Haya Cultural Centre, Amman Jordan

The complex history of misunderstanding and conflict between the West and the Arab/Islamic worlds can make successful cross-cultural theatre collaborations difficult to undertake. Current diplomatic relations between the Western and Arab/Islamic worlds heighten the focus on Western negative perceptions of Arabic/Islamic stereotypes, exacerbating collaborative efforts. In turn, cross cultural theatre exchange between the West and Arab worlds is all the more imperative to attempt and to succeed. In 2018, Terrapin Puppet Theatre in Tasmania successfully obtained a grant from The Australian Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and The Council for Arab Australian Relations (CAAR)1to visit the Haya Cultural Centre, Jordan and to collaborate in creating a children’s theatre production. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen and promote Arab/Australian relations. As a Shadow Artist and Researcher, I was fortunate to be part of this inaugural co-production and visit Amman along with Artistic Director of Terrapin Sam Routledge and Filmmaker/Lighting Designer Nicholas Higgins. I was asked to lead a series of shadow puppetry workshops with creative staff at the Haya Cultural Centre in Amman.

1Established in 2003, The Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) seeks “to strengthen Australian-Arab relations by advancing areas of shared political, economic and social interest and building a greater awareness and appreciation of each other’s cultures and values”

Tracking device with torch designed by Nicholas Higgins.