Kamishibai @ Hilton! Please explain


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Jemma Kahn is SA’s very own Kamishibai star. See her … if you dare … Adults only …

Jemma Kahn in the opening scene of In Bocca Al Lupo, the final instalment in her kamishibai trilogy.
Jemma Kahn in the opening scene of In Bocca Al Lupo, the final instalment in her kamishibai trilogy. Photo: Etienne Shardlow, Artsvark.

Kamishibai, ‘paper drama’, is an ancient Japanese form of street theatre; a method used for centuries by monks and itinerant storytellers to tell morality tales to a largely illiterate audience. Illustrated panels are revealed one at a time from a wooden box, accompanied by narration. Using simple but beautifully drawn images displayed on cardboard story panels, Jemma Kahn has spent the last four years captivating audiences from Grahamstown to Edinburgh to Amsterdam with her unique take on this 12th century art form. Her sheer verve in combination with all the elements at play creates an utterly original and sometimes bizarre theatre experience, a joyous tribute to visual and verbal storytelling.

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At this year’s Hilton Arts Festival (16 – 18 September), POPArt Productions & Jemma Kahn present two Kamishibai theatre shows:

Jemma Kahn and Roberto Pombo in We Didn't Come To Hell For The Croissants.
Jemma Kahn and Roberto Pombo in We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants.


7 Deadly Sins. 7 writers. 7 new stories. Jemma Kahn and her irreverent side-kick, Roberto Pombo, return in the eagerly anticipated follow up to the international cult hit The Epicene Butcher with stories that seduce the sinless and astonish the immoral.

– stories that are firmly for adults and run the gamut from the silly to the sublime; from pornography to epic poetry; from cannibalism to cat dreams.

David Zampatti of The West Australian speaks of “their talent, and the savagery of their insight into their country”. Robyn Sassen says, “In a world where theatre jobs are scarce and auditions bad for the ego, Kahn has reinvented this wheel with all the chutzpah, laughter and derision necessary: may she continue with abandon.”

It’s unmissable and definitely not for children. Unless you are an awful parent.


Into the mouth of the wolf …not fearing danger, once again …

Jemma Khan brings us the final instalment of her bewitching Kamishibai series. What could follow on The Epicene Butcher and We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants? An epic journey into the mouth of the wolf – a voyage of self-discovery, sexy Catholics and octopus biltong, spanning three continents. So you know, viewer discretion advised.

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