“SILK SHADOWS SPEAK:” PERFORMING THE VOICES OF CHILDREN THROUGH WAYANG KULIT AND HERITAGE FOLKTALES
Keywords:Children's voices, folktales, Wayang Kulit, performing arts, theatre
There is extensive literature on drama and theatre in education regarding the role, value and benefits of performative tools to enhance learning, stimulating creativity and cognitive of children. However, while there is a substantial and well-evidenced body of literature in this area, there are few studies that present the voices of those directly affected by these claims; the children involved as participants in these studies or research projects, especially in Malaysia. This article deals with a fundamental research grant funded by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia carried out from January 2018 until December 2019. The research project involves six primary schools in the northern states of Malaysia; Penang, Kedah and Perlis. “Silk Shadows Speak” is an action research project that explores Wayang Kulit (shadow play) as a performative art in an attempt to portray that it is able to engage children with heritage folktales in critical and creative ways. The importance of folktales as an integral element of a child’s holistic development is an area that has received significant attention within the academic world (Kaveny, 2015; Normaliza, 2014; Nurul Fiza & Nor Azan, 2010; Zipes, 1997). The concern of the project was finding children’s voices; their thoughts and reactions towards heritage folktales in their everyday lives. The research project aimed at children’s participation in appropriating Wayang Kulit to make and communicate meaning through storytelling, interpretation and creation of characters, puppetry, sounds, textures and gestures.
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