The Arts and U

Manual Cinema

By Sheri Jardine, UtahPresents

Performance group Manual Cinema combines live theatre with movie-making to create a live cinematic experience. The audience can watch the “film” on screen, but can also see the actors, technicians and musicians below the screen who are creating the story live using overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets and live feed cameras.

As part of the UtahPresents season on March 29, Manual Cinema will present “Ada/Ava,” a mysterious story of separated twins. Bereaved of her twin sister Ava, septuagenarian Ada solitarily marks time in the patterns of a life built for two. However, a traveling carnival and a trip to a mirror maze plunges her into a journey across the thresholds of life and death. Set in a landscape of the New England gothic, “Ada/Ava” uses a story of the fantastic and super natural to explore mourning and melancholy, self and other.

Founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter, Manual Cinema is a performance collective, design studio and film/ video production company. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound and music, transforming the experience of attending the cinema and imbuing it with liveness, ingenuity and theatricality.

To date Manual Cinema has created five original feature length live cinematic shadow puppet shows, a live cinematic contemporary dance show created for family audiences in collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance and the choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams, a live non-fiction piece for Pop-Up Magazine, a museum exhibit created in collaboration with the Chicago History Museum and live cinematic puppet adaptations of StoryCorps stories, among many other projects

Prior to Manual Cinema’s performance on March 29, the performers and creators will hold classes and workshops with students both on and off campus with theatre and English department students and local nonprofit Spy Hop.

Manual Cinema is presented by UtahPresents, in partnership with the Department of Theatre.

Manual Cinema: “Ada/Ava”
March 29, 7:30 p.m. at Kingsbury Hall
Tickets: $20 general public, $5 U students with Arts Pass, Faculty/Staff save 10 percent

More info at and watch the trailer for “Ada/Ava” here.