About Us

Papermoon Puppet Theatre was founded in April 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Co-Artistic Director Maria Tri Sulistyani (Ria). She has since nurtured, developed, and expanded the company together with Co-Artistic Director Iwan Effendi, a visual artist and Papermoon’s puppet designer. Among other close collaborators, we work with a collective of puppeteers, which includes Anton Fajri, Pambo Priyojati, and Beni Sanjaya.

To date, Papermoon has created more than 20 puppet performances and visual art installations and exhibitions, which we have toured to more than 10 countries. In 2008, we launched Pesta Boneka, an international puppet biennale that welcomes puppeteers from around the world to our home city, where they can share their work in a community setting.

Our Mission

Papermoon Puppet Theatre believes that anything can come alive. Every creature, every object, every single thing in the world holds life somewhere inside of it. With our performances, installations, workshops, collaborations, and festival, we hope to bring those things to lifethrough the amazing art form of puppetry, as well as by nurturing the good things around and within us.

For more than ten years, Papermoon has shared our work with audiences around the world, everywhere from Japan to The Netherlands, from Australia to the United States. But our home and our hearts are always in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where we are lucky enough to be part of a vibrant arts community. We are excited for where our next decade will take us—and to meet new friends along the way!

Our Work

Papermoon Puppet Theatre:

  • creates original puppet performances on contemporary themes
  • makes visual art installations and exhibitions
  • engages in collaborative and interdisciplinary projects
  • offers workshops and talks for all ages on puppetry and performance making
  • produces Pesta Boneka, our international puppet biennale

Press 

“Papermoon Puppet Theatre has become a staple of the global arts festival circuit, with enigmatic, modernist puppets that tell stories from myth to the birth of modern Indonesia. … Words are few for these puppets with moon-shaped faces who, like mimes, express everything in evocative, poignant gestures.”

The New York Times, USA, 2016 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/travel/indonesia-yogyakarta-java-island.html)

“The standard of puppetry is extraordinary. The energy and artistic integrity of this company shines through in every scene. This is a magnificent piece of theatre, painting a portrait of the political in the everyday.”

Glam Adelaide, Australia, 2015 (http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/ozasia-review-mwathirika)

“Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre has transformed puppets the way graphic novels changed comics: Taking a popular form too often dismissed as child’s play and making it intellectually challenging, emotionally chilling, and visually bold. Think Maus, not Muppets. They are extraordinary!”

—Center Stage, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 2012 (http://centerstageus.org/artists/papermoon_puppet_theatre)

“Drawing on the hip, youthful vibe of Indonesia’s preeminent college town and arts hotspot, Yogyakarta, the company uses the whimsy and seeming innocence of beautiful, simple puppets to create multimedia performance that tackle political persecution and the political side of history, in a way that promises to bring Indonesian history home and spark dialogue among audiences and artists.”

—The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, USA, 2012 (http://www.kennedy-center.org/artist/B87580)

Interviews (Select)

Awards & Honors (Select)

  • Residency at the University of New Hampshire; Durham, NH, USA (October-December 2015)
  • Residency at The Museum of Art, Kochi; Kochi, Japan (August-September 2015)
  • Toured the United Kingdom as featured artists in the British Council’s “Discover Indonesia” program (August-September 2015)
  • Nominated for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award (August 2015)
  • Residency at Sanggar Bangun Budaya in collaboration with Polyglot Theatre, Australia; Magelang, Indonesia (March 2014)
  • Residency at Bumi Pemuda Rahayu; Yogyakarta, Indonesia (February 2014)
  • Residency at Manila Contemporary; Manila, Philippines (November 2012)
  • Toured the United States as featured artists of Center Stage, the cultural exchange program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (September-October 2012)
  • Residency at the Koganecho Area Management Center; Yokohama, Japan (January-March 2012)
  • Residency at Yfest, Esplanade—Theatres on The Bay; Singapore (July-August 2011, July-August 2010)
  • Empowering Women Artists grant from Yayasan Kelola, HIVOS, the Ford Foundation, and BIYAN (2011, 2010)
  • Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council; New York, NY, USA (2009-2010)
  • Artist residency at the Hooyong Performing Arts Centre; Wonju, South Korea (April-May 2009)
  • Grant from the Indonesian National Department of Education (2006)