Saidja: Once Upon a Time In The East

A love story in times of violence and revolution, Saidja: Once Upon a Time in the East (Hete Peper) explores the post-colonial era of Indonesia through theatre, storytelling, puppetry, dance, and music. The project is a collaboration between Papermoon Puppet Theatre, the theatre company Het Volksoperahuis and Rop Severin of The Netherlands, as well as several Indonesian musicians.

Old Saidja seems to live happily with his grandchildren in Kampung Tebu, a little village at the bottom of  a volcano. One day, a Dutch man named Eric Coen arrives—he is on a journey to find out the history of his family, who were the owners of an old sugar factory, now in ruins, nearby. His visit opens up the memories—and old wounds—of Saidja.

Saidja premiered in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and also toured to The Netherlands.



Full performance:


Cerita Anak

“Climb aboard and be rocked and rolled across a strange ocean, dive to the bottom of the sea, hear stories on the wind and in the currents of the water and face great danger before coming to safe harbor.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) draws its inspiration from the seafaring history in Java and the true tale of arrival told by a small boy.

“Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery, and sound, the show bustles with all the life of the ocean. Audience members, both young and old, are passengers and storytellers on this adventure.

“Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre worked with local children from a fishing village north of Java to conceive and create this exquisite encounter.

“The development of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was generously supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne through ArtPlay’s New Ideas Lab, Arts Centre Melbourne, Playking Foundation and Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus1.”

—Text by Polyglot Theatre




“Polyglot and Papermoon worked alongside children and adults from two villages beneath the volcano Merapi to make a story told through play, puppets, and comic book style. Drawbridge takes the child’s instinctive nature to play and builds this energy into a story of giant proportions.

Misteri Siung Buto—translated into The Mystery of the Ogre’s Tooth—is a new story made by the kids of the villages from the mythology of the region, when ogres lived in the forests of Java, protecting them from humans.

“During part two in Melbourne, children from the Victorian College for the Deaf reinterpreted the story to incorporate Auslan, English, and Indonesian in a giant walk through comic book which took over Deakin Edge at Federation Square in Melbourne.

“Featuring a mix of contemporary and traditional music, artwork and performance, Drawbridge is a cross cultural, cross company, cross age collaboration.

“Artists on this trip were: Directors and Designers Sue Giles and Maria Tri Sulisyani, Comic Book Artist Mandy Ord, Puppet Designer and Maker Octo Tri Andriatna, Sound Artist Marco Cher-Gibard, and Community Artist Ian Pidd.

“Drawbridge Indonesia-Melbourne is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The project is also supported by the Australia-Indonesia Institute and in Melbourne is commissioned by Federation Square.”

—Text by Polyglot Theatre



Rojer is a collaborative 16mm film project. Taking on the theme of “being neglected,” we did experiments on the relationship between characters and either puppets or puppeteers.


Lung/Paru-Paru is an experimental performance that combines installation, dance and puppetry to explore themes of need, sacrifice and what it means to be alive. Lung/Paru-Paru incorporates dance by Kinanti Sekar Rahina, puppetry by Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Belen Rubira, and musical composition by Ari Wulu.

Originally presented as part of Papermoon Puppet Theatre’s fourth Pesta Boneka biennale in 2014, Lung/Paru-Paru was also presented at Jogja Contemporary in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


Senlima is, in all regards, a deeply moving experience: from the sheer setup of the stage and the excellent production and handling of the puppets, to the poignant story and the important key message.Jakarta Globe, 2015


A collaboration between Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Retrofuturisten, Germany

A theatre piece combining puppetry, animation, and video, created by Papermoon and Retrofuturisten of Germany, Senlima was performed in Indonesia, Italy, and Germany. The performance explores borders, in both the outside world and inside of ourselves, as an older man goes out on a quest to find his beloved lost bird. The project was supported by the Goethe-Institut and the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin.

“Two puppetry companies as well as puppetry students were put together to create a project and a show. An exciting task! 14,141 kilometers and 14 country borders between them. Different continents, cultures, different ways of working and perspectives, different worlds meet and invent something new. What combines all the people? Where do they find a common language? Are there still cultural borders when everybody has access to the same media and information all the time, world-wide?”

—Text by Retrofuturisten


“Senlima is, in all regards, a deeply moving experience: from the sheer setup of the stage and the excellent production and handling of the puppets, to the poignant story and the important key message.”

Jakarta Globe, 2015

Additional Press



A collaboration between Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Cake Industries, Australia

In our minds, time is not linear. Future becomes someone’s past, past has at one point been someone’s future, and all three periods overlap and intertwine in a complicated relationship that defies absolute definition”

Anachron has been created in consultation with some of The Light in Winter’s artistic and cultural groups, mentored by Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Cake Industries.”

—Text by Cake Industries

Anachron was presented as part of The Light in Winter festival in Melbourne, Australia.