LIFE of PAPER – Origami storytelling raised to a new level

Imagine if all sets, costumes and props were made of paper! 

Imagine if giant origami creations were made by Joseph Wu – internationally renowned Origrami master!
Imagine if the music was created live on stage by the wonderful Orchid ensemble!

Come down to the Roundhouse theatre for an exciting and amazing show about the history of paper and paperfolding.  Created by Pangaea Arts – “an intercultural, interdisciplinary world arts organization based in
Vancouver. Pangaea Arts was formed to promote cultural interaction and
the exchange of ideas between diverse communities and to introduce
Canadian audiences to performance traditions from around the world.”

This theatrical event blends together many different forms of theatre and storytelling.  It opens with a monologue on origami paperfolding –  about paper and a square, and how everything begins from the square. 

The next scene is set during the Han dynasty and is told with Chinese opera comic style.  The invention of paper is revealed.

Paper travels eastward through Asia from China to Korea to Japan, and westward through the Middle East to Europe.   Paper puppets are used to tell story.  And Paper Shadow puppets are also used.

A hilarious scene is set in Victorian England, with all the costumes and props such as glasses and tea pot made of paper.

But the two most fascinating elements are the wonderful paper creations used in each scene and the accompanying music by Orchid Ensemble.  This intercultural music ensemble can play the style of music from everywhere in the world that paper has had an impact.  From ancicent China and Japan, to the Middle East, to Africa, Spain, Germany, England, and North America.  Watching the Orchid Ensemble provide  the many sound effects in additional to the rich musical tapestry is amazing.  There are really an important part of the show.

But the real “Wow” factor are the giant size origami figures revealed at the end of the show.  They are left on stage for the audience to come down and take their pictures beside them.

This was a very challenging concept to pull together.  I talked briefly with Origami Master Joseph Wu prior to the show, while he was putting the finishing touches on origami cranes that were to be used in the show.  He said that while everybody agreed on the concepts – they all had their own language: Theatre language, music language and origami language.  Not to mention that the performance itself uses English, Chinese, Japanese, a middle Eastern language, plus a very thick German accented English.  Or that Japanese Noh theatre finds itself right beside puppetry, and Western theatre styles.


Life of PaperMay 23 – Jun 1, Tue – Sat: 8:00pm

2:00pm Matinees: Sun, May 25; Wed, May 28;

and Sun, June 1

2-for-1 Preview Fri, May 23

Performance Centre

Click for Tickets: $22, students/seniors $18

Breathtaking origami sculptures, costumes, props, set, masks, puppets,
and musical instruments all will be made of paper. Pangaea Arts
combines Eastern and Western theatre styles as they collaborate with
world-renowned origami artist Joseph Wu, composer Judy Specht,
world-music group Orchid Ensemble, performers Yayoi Hirano, Ling He,
Lenard Stanga and Tomoko Hanawa, set and light designer John Webber,
and director Heidi Specht.


Life of Paper PosterAn exhibition and performance that celebrate the creative potential of paper.
A Roundhouse Partnership

Exhibition Hall and Performance Centre


Wed, May 21 – Sun, Jun 1

11:00am – 9:00pm weekdays

11:00am-4:30pm weekends

Exhibition Hall

All ages, FREE

Join us for an exhibition of the amazing possibilities of paper,
featuring the work of world-renowned origami artist Joseph Wu. The
public is also invited to contribute to two enormous paper works of
art. This is an opportunity to collaborate with Joseph and other
origami experts as they create a massive interactive origami display,
which will grow throughout the week as the public adds their
contributions, with help from members of PALM (Paperfolders Around the
Lower Mainland). Whether you’re a complete beginner, or an origami
expert, you are welcome to contribute your own artwork, made on-site,
as you learn about origami, paper-making, and recycling. All ages are



Sun, May 25, 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Performance Centre

Adults and Teens, FREE

The general public is invited to participate in this amazing musical
event. Join our artistic team in the performance centre and become part
of a large “paper orchestra”, using instruments made entirely of paper,
and perform an orchestral piece written for this event by Life of Paper
composer Judy Specht. This “happening” will be recorded for later
broadcast. Send an email to to reserve your spot. or at the door.


Sat May 24 or Sun. May 25, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Exhibition Hall

For families, ages 6 to adult.

FREE but please register.

Come to one of these workshops and learn to create origami pieces
step-by-step, and through ‘storigami’, a form of storytelling that uses
paper folding. Featuring origami storyteller Yukiko Tosa and origami
artist Lisa David, members of PALM (Paperfolders Around the Lower


Sat. May 31, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Bring the family for a celebration of community spirit and your
contribution to the Life of Paper. See how the installation has grown
as the public has added origami over ten days!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ 9 = fourteen