Plastic Puppet Theater

Photo: David Burke
Plastic Puppet Theater
Khao Niew Lao ("Sticky Rice") Theater Group
Environmental Health
Empowering youth to reduce waste through puppet theater and sculpture

Three playful, larger-than-life puppets were constructed from recycled plastic to provide a visual representation of the plastic used by an average Laos household in a day, a week, and a month. The Khao Niew Lao ("Sticky Rice") Theater Group used this concept to further the group’s mission: to educate youth about plastic waste through performance and puppetry. The recycled plastic was purchased from the local collectors who walk around the city and pick up the trash. By sourcing the materials in this way, the project also spotlighted and amplified the human side of waste disposal and the resources it requires.

The Director of Khao Niew Lao, Toh, also traveled to a children’s center outside the city, where he held a workshop on the importance of reusing and recycling plastic. As part of the workshop, young participants were guided to create small sculptures made from plastic collected around the neighborhood. The work produced by the youth was installed at the Laos Arts Incubator public exhibition, acting as set design for part of Khao Niew Lao’s puppet performance.

Participating Artists 

Toh Tokabonglao, Xanhnoy Eiei, Noy Pilavong


By empowering youth to learn sustainability through art-making and collaboration, the goal of this project is to begin a new tradition of innovative environmental health practices that are interactive and fun. Khao Niew Lao will use the elements from their collaboration with the children as the foundation for a new performance to be shown at an International Performance Festival held in Vientiane in January 2016.

More Community Projects from Laos

Bounpaul Phothyzan
Imagining new architecture and rethinking development and the convenience of plastic
Green Vientiane
Beautifying trash collector carts to increase visibility of environmental health
Color of Future Mural Collective
Pushing the envelope for contemporary public artworks through new mural program