Dr Aja Marneweck established the international women’s puppetry company, The Paper Body Collective in 2004 in Cape Town. The Paper Body Collective, creates trans-disciplinary works that use an intuitive and embodied approach to puppetry that combines body, object and voice in multicultural environments of site, ritual, installation and multimedia. Aja has worked with long term collaborator, award winning video maker and puppeteer Jacqueline Van Meygaarden, as well as an informal collective of artists, puppeteers, poets, priestesses, traditional healers, visionaries, mothers, singers, musicians, dancers, to co-create several multimedia puppetry productions. They have performed on prestigious festivals such as the Festival Mondial des Theatres de la Marionettes in Charleville (2009) and the Puppet Theatre Festival at the Stadt Museum in Munich (2013).
The latest work of The Paper Body Collective has explored complex and shadowed terrains of sexual and spiritual emergence(y) through artistic practices, seeking pathways to personal and community empowerment and re-membering. Their live site-specific puppetry event, Plot 99, took place in an abandoned black women’s mental asylum, exploring the mythical and metaphoric intersections of mental illness, traditional healing and women’s spiritual oppression in South Africa. Their internationally successful production, In Medea Res, used puppetry to unpack the trauma of the Xenophobic violence that has been plaguing South Africa and devastating our refugee and pan-African economic migrant communities.