Older News  » A visit from Indonesia

Last updated 11:01 AM on 26 May 2014
Master Puppetteer

Wayang Kulit, or shadow puppet theatre, is considered a vital part of Indonesian cultural heritage and many visitors to Bali look forward to attending a performance.

It's an ancient entertainment and art form thought to have existed in Indonesia for at least eight hundred years and last week students students from primary and secondary were privileged to have a master puppeteer or dalang, named Sumandi, bring the traditional performance to them.    


Although shadow puppetry is not specific to Indonesia, it is of huge significance to the people; depicting stories drawn from classic Hindu epics and seeking to have a moral and spiritual influence on them.  Dalangs are highly respected and Sumandi explained he had been learning and practising his craft, which includes making the puppets, since he was eleven.   

The students sat on either side of the screen, rotating half way through the show providing them the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.   Afterwards Sumandi answered questions and to the amazement of the students revealed that in Indonesia a show would normally start at 9pm and last till dawn with no breaks; a feat of extreme mental and physical endurance!