Kirstin Pauka (PhD) is a Professor of Asian Theatre at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her primary area of specialization is theatre of Southeast Asia. She has produced and directed many Southeast Asian theatre productions at UH Kennedy Theatre, including several Balinese Wayang Listrik (shadow theatre) shows in collaboration with Balinese master artists. The most recent one was in early 2020: “The Last King of Bali,” the last live show at Kennedy Theatre before the pandemic shut down performances around the world. She is the producer and director of the Jaga Alam project, a performance-based environmental education program. E-mail: pauka@hawaii.edu


Jaga Alam: Performance-based Environmental Education and Balinese Shadow Theatre

Abstract: This paper will present a performance-based environmental education program of the Asian Theatre Program at the University of Hawaiʻi. In collaboration with Balinese master artists, this program is conducting a multi-year project entitled Jaga Alam, an environmental performance project featuring Balinese folk tales and shadow puppetry. The project hosts Balinese artists I Madé Widana and I Madé Moja to develop new, environmentally themed performances and lecture-demonstrations for local schools in Hawaiʻi. The selected themes deal with environmental issues and concerns shared across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution, urban sprawl, and coastline erosion. The project started in 2021, with a short wayang shadow theatre piece entitled “Lutung, the Messenger”, followed by “Pedanda Baka” in 2022, and “Lutung and the Bees” in 2023. All three shows were based on Balinese folk tales, integrating different environmental topics. The stories center on forest communities of animal characters impacted by habitat loss, urban sprawl, tourism, and climate change. Each of the shadow plays was performed live and recorded for streaming access for schools. This paper will discuss the pedagogical aims and present specific supplemental educational materials which were created for each play. The teacher guides provide background info on Balinese performance culture and specific environmental issues, with suggestions for lesson plans, teaching modules, and curricular activities tailored for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Keywords: habitat loss, Balinese shadow theatre, educational outreach, folk tales, climate change