Working in Education
Leon has been teaching shadow theatre technique design and performance for the past 15 years, in all levels of schools from elementary to university. He has worked as an artist-in-residence receiving grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and other Art foundations. Residencies can be one week to one year long.
For younger students, Leon uses tools and materials that are already available in the classroom (overhead projector, construction paper, tape, string, butcher paper etc.) For older students, he uses halogen lights, which he provides. Shadow theatre can be applied in any subject that a teacher may want to give creative emphasis, from geography and history to math and science. Shadow theatre is ideal for shy and reserved students, because they perform behind a screen and they feel like they are producing live animation with their imagination, facilitated by a low tech approach.
"Of very direct service to the children was the outstanding work performed by Leon Kassapides in our Kinder, First and Second grade classes. Leon was uniformly appreciated by teachers and students as a fine instructor and artist who was committed to the art of shadow puppetry. The techniques which he taught were clearly and engagingly presented and the students learned how to develop and put on their own theater pieces. His enthusiasm for his art rapidly transmitted to the kids who did wonderful work using very basic tools. It was an important experience, and one which we would like to see repeated this year if this is possible."
--Bob Armstrong, Art Coordinator; Buena Vista Elementary School