ShadowLight Productions Awarded California Arts Council “Artists in Schools” and “Artists in Schools - Extension” Grants

The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $14,800 to ShadowLight Productions as part of its Artists in Schools program as well as $5,500 as part of its Artists in Schools - Extension program.

The Artists in Schools program supports arts education programs for pre-K-12 students that operate on school sites during regular school hours. The Artists in Schools – Extension program is an offshoot of the Council’s signature Artists in Schools program and operates after school and during the summer, on school sites, in artistic venues, and in community settings. The intention of both programs is to offer young people sequential, hands-on-training in artistic disciplines, including dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts, that align to National Core Arts, California Visual and Performing Arts, Common Core, and/or Expanded Learning Standards

The Artists in Schools grant will support our Shadow Theatre Arts Education residency program at four San Francisco Bay Area Schools, focusing on connecting cultures, building community and creating a collaborative artistic experience for all. Each immersive residency is part of the partnering schools’ arts integration efforts and will culminate in original shadow theatre projects performed for their peers and the general public.

The Artists in Schools Extension grant will support ShadowLight Productions’ partnership with the San Francisco Columbia Park Boys & Girls Clubhouse creative arts program to teach 60 hours of arts instruction during a year-round shadow theatre after-school program. The program will culminate in original shadow theatre plays created and performed/showcased by youth participants for their peers and the community during three public performances.

“When we reflect upon our mission and the ancient shadow theatre traditions upon which we stand, we realize that the essence of our legacy lies in sharing: inspiring the next generation to take part in the long lineage of Shadow Theatre traditions. Disseminated by master artists, Shadow Theatre is traditionally a community-building art form. With this as our inspiration, we will continue to train young shadow theatre artists and performers in workshops and in our major productions, and by immersing public school students in the art from thorugh our residency program and DVD series.” – Larry Reed

To view a complete listing of all Artists in Schools grantees, visit

To view a complete listing of all Artists in School - Extension grantees, visit

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Founded in 1972 (incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1994) by filmmaker, theatre artist Larry Reed, ShadowLight Productions’ mission is to expose the general public to shadow theatre and other art forms. As one of the very few professional shadow theatre companies in the world, we strive to demonstrate a wide spectrum of Shadow Theatre to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and our arts-in-education program lies at the heart of our mission. For more information, visit

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

In Celebration of Lou Harrison's Centennial

Tonight's the night! Experience the final performance of #Cinna at the Center for New Music's MicroFest North: A Concert With Shadows:

"On May 18 in San Francisco, in celebration of Lou Harrison’s centennial, two of his good friends [Linda Burman-Hall and Larry Reed] will realize one of his most distinctive artistic ambitions, a work that, though never completed in his lifetime, includes some of his most unusual but enchanting music. . . It marks one of the last major realizations of Harrison's uncompleted works."

Read more about the story behind Lou Harrison's "Cinna: The Clemency of Augustus" at

To learn more about the concert, visit:

We are hiring...


ShadowLight Productions, America’s premiere professional shadow theatre company, is currently seeking a qualified individual to fill a part-time Education & Outreach Coordinator position. Please carefully read the detailed job description and qualifications below. 

ShadowLight Productions is one of the few professional shadow theatre companies and holds a truly unique place in the American Theatre scene. Founded in 1972 by filmmaker, theatre artist, and shadow master, Larry Reed, the company strives to nurture indigenous shadow theater traditions, and to explore and expand the possibilities of the shadow theatre medium by creating innovative interdisciplinary, multicultural works. Our original works have been seen worldwide at festivals and theatres such as The Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, the Spoleto Festival USA, the Walter Spies Festival in Bali, SomArts Cultural Center, Brava Theater Center, and France's Institut Internationale de la Marionette. Over the years ShadowLight has created a truly unique visual vocabulary through its sophisticated blending of ancient shadow concepts with cinematic techniques. The company's past productions have all been professionally filmed and are part of a Legacy DVD Collection. For more information, visit our website:

Education & Outreach Coordinator Key responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the Artistic and Managing directors in the development of project-specific PR/Outreach strategies 
  • Maintaining a monthly social media content calendar 
  • Sustaining and managing the Arts Education program. Activities include: scheduling residencies/workshops, facilitating projects, managing a team of teaching artists, program data collection and evaluation, and attending community arts education meetings/events;
  • Assisting the Managing Director and Board of Directors in general business operations (administrative tasks);
  • Managing the ShadowLight E-commerce store sales, DVD inventory, and customer relations;
  • Managing CRM database – audience members, DVD customers, sales, DVD inventory;
  • Other related tasks as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Self-motivated, organized and detail-oriented, and have the ability to complete tasks in timely and effective manner;
  • Ability to effectively interact and work with individuals with diverse backgrounds;
  • Excellent writing and verbal skills;
  • Strong research skills;
  • Proficient in MS office programs & Filemaker Pro in Mac environment; 
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • Strong knowledge and interest in Performing Arts a plus;
  • Strong knowledge and interest in Arts Education a plus;
  • Knowledge of Final Cut or Premiere, DVD Studio Pro, Photoshop, web design a plus; 

15-20 hrs/week – schedule flexible.  Some nights and/or weekends may be required during productions.


How to Apply:
Send a cover letter and resume to:
No phone calls please

Changing Landscape in the Modern World

This past September Larry traveled back to Malaysia, as a follow up to his first trip in May 2015 collecting research for his potential new project highlighting the indigenous cultures of Malaysia (the Orang Asli). He collaborated with Sabera Shaik, owner of Malaysian Masakini Theatre, to further develop the concept and direction of the project. Below you will find Larry's reflections after his first trip in May 2015. We look forward to sharing his most recent experience upon his return.

Malaysia is a complicated country. There are large Chinese, Malay, and Indian populations. Out of a total population of 20 million people, only 200,000 are known as Orang Asli, the original people. Traditionally, they are a semi-nomadic people whose culture revolves around an intimate knowledge of the rain forest. In the rain forest they are completely self-sufficient hunter-gatherers. They know the range of the animals they stalk, and they know where the best plants grow for nutrition and for healing. 

They are territorial, but the concept of land ownership is foreign to them. They are animists who believe that spirits inhabit everything everywhere. These spirits can be both benevolent and malevolent.  They communicate with the people through their dreams. The people then interpret the dreams using songs, and in some cases masks, to ask these spirits for guidance, for healing and for balance. In a sense they are pacifists who believe in living within nature, rather than conquerors who dominate it.

Tetsuro Koyano, Ramli Ibrahim, and I first met in Indonesia fifteen years ago where we were studying and performing together. Koyano specializes in Balinese masked theater, Ibrahim is a major exponent of Indian dance in Malaysia and a cultural icon there. I studied traditional Balinese shadow theater, and subsequently created a new, cinematic form of theater using shadows, which could be easily adapted to any culture. This project is an outgrowth of a conversation between Ramli and myself that began over ten years ago. We thought it would be interesting to work with the Orang Asli community to make a large-scale shadow theater piece, which would increase awareness of their culture among the general population of Malaysia, and stimulate a sense of pride among the Orang Asli themselves. In the interim I have done projects with the Karuk tribe of Northern California (COYOTE’S JOURNEY), and together with Koyano, with the Ainu people of Northern Japan (PORO OYNA).

The purpose of the trip was to test the feasibility of our ideas among the Orang Asli, and among the cultural leaders of Malaysia. To that end we engaged Busu Ngah, a member of the Temiar tribe and good friend of Ramli.  We travelled to three Temiar villages about seven hours North of Kuala Lumpur.  We stayed in the village of Santhi where we were introduced to various healers and village leaders.  We participated in healing ceremonies in the village of Yum and also showed them some videos of our work, and conducted a brief shadow theater workshop with some of the children there.

Pictured from Left to Right - Tetsuro Koyano, Ramli Ibrahim, Larry Reed

Pictured from Left to Right - Tetsuro Koyano, Ramli Ibrahim, Larry Reed

We then travelled up the dirt logging road to the village of Perjek where we met with a group of village elders and listened to Temiar creation stories. Every time a logging truck went down the road, the men all turned and watched silently as it roared by.

These villages are all government-built concrete-block relocation projects.

in the village

in the village

One of the men continually wears the traditional loincloth as a silent protest.

Their home territory further up the road is being clear cut, and will soon become yet another palm oil plantation. Most of the people are ill equipped to survive in modern society. The younger people often work as day laborers.

Busu Ngah is taking a different route. He has finally received his university degree after years of night school.  He hopes someday to represent his people in parliament. He has a nightly radio program playing indigenous music and accepting calls from Orang Asli around the country. It is a great forum for people to talk about their trials and successes. We appeared live on his program and talked about our impressions of the villages, our appreciation for the culture, and our hopes to do a project together in the near future.

Pictured Busu Ngah

Pictured Busu Ngah

The next day we traveled to Carey Island to visit the Mah Meri tribe in the village of Sungai Bunbun.  Surprisingly one of the elders had listened to the radio program and knew all about us. They performed a masked dance ceremony for us and talked about the process of carving masks based on dreams. It was unclear to us how important this process is in their actual lives.

In the village of Santhi, many of the families have succumbed to government pressure and become Muslim.  By contrast in the village of Yum the ceremonies seem to be a vital part of life.  The women form a chorus, keeping time with bamboo tubes, which mark the heartbeat of the ceremony. A healer, usually a man, sings a line, which is repeated by the women, etc.  His song has come to him in a dream, and the act of performing it is healing. The men take turns singing and some go into trance, further enhancing the healing process.

In truth, our original plan was to attend the first national festival celebrating the Orang Asli cultures and peoples, which was abruptly postponed.  This sudden change turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Instead of having to navigate the large event to meet people with different agendas and goals, we were able to have very personal, intimate, focused and meaningful experiences especially in the villages.

This was all thanks to the insights and resourcefulness of Ramli and his staff at the Sutra Foundation.  They made sure that we could fulfill all of our goals.  When the trips to the native settlements were arranged, I was eager to jump in with shadow workshops and demos as we thought it was the best way to gage their interest in the project. Ramli convinced me otherwise – he felt it was not only important but also essential that we simply be there, meet, observe and understand the history and current situation of the Orang Asli people first hand. Let the demo and workshop naturally happen if they did ever happen at all.  He was right. We could not have anticipated what life was like in the village, and how hard it would be to stage a project entirely in one village. We now have a common understanding of how to move forward.

Pictured Larry Reed

Pictured Larry Reed

 All photos & video by Koyano Tetsuro