Pan Gu - World Premiere at Barnes Foundation


Hua Hua Zhang / Visual Expressions latest work at Barnes Foundation

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Creating Multiples Event

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Performances at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. 

Length of the show: 10 minutes

Pan Gu was a commission work from Barnes to create a shadow puppet art performance for PECO Free First Sunday Family Day. It was performed on the eight huge glass-windows (10ft high x 6.5ft wide) overlooking the indoor courtyard of the Barnes. Hua Hua Zhang was excited for this project; she took traditional Chinese shadow puppet theater art that went further creatively. She and her team did several experimental and technique testings on glass-windows in collaboration with Barnes. Eventually she created a unique traditional shadow puppet play with contemporary features.

Pan Gu is based on a Chinese mythological story that tells how the world was created. It is a combined visual art and shadow puppet theater performance. Chinese stylized ink painting was used as the scenery on the glass-window. A storyteller, live shadow puppets performing with original music composed by Jingzhe Wang, made the 10 minutes of Pan Gu show unbelievably powerful and beautiful. After the show Hua Hua Zhang and her performing team brought the large puppets to meet the audiences; that made a special Family Day at Barnes. The production made possible in supported by Barnes Foundation.

Hua Hua Zhang - Artistic Director, Puppet & Scenery Design & installation

Jingzhe Wang - Composer

Chris Lucas - Voice Over   

Hua Hua Zhang, Adam Danoff, Travis Daniel Draper and Jeanne Lyons - Performers

Josh Hubert - Video documentary and Photograph

Photo by Josh Hubert


     About Company






Audiences Comments:

The Pangu shadow puppet show at the Barnes Foundation was a stunning realization of a powerful Chinese creation myth.  Strong, graphic images of the god Pangu and his surroundings appeared at windows several feet above the heads of the audience below.  Meanwhile a voice from the loudspeakers told the story in words accompanied by original, vibrant music.  Altogether the show was a great experience.  I was delighted that I could see it with my daughter and grandkids, and that they could see the huge puppets close up after the show.  This is truly a performance for all ages.

    -Roberta Camp

The puppets were really powerful and the plot was exciting!


                                                              --Katya, Age 7

It was a great modernization of a Chinese myth!  I could really tell a lot of work went in to it!   


                                                      --Lukas, Age 12