Esplanade Presents



Nick Lehane (USA)

26 May 2023, Fri, 8pm

27 May 2023, Sat, 3pm & 8pm

28 May 2023, Sun, 3pm


(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Theatre Studio

This event is over.

Photo credit: Richard Termine
Photo credit: Richard Termine
Photo credit: Richard Termine

“An extraordinary and heartbreaking piece.” – The Theatre Times


“Chimpanzee is in itself a master class in puppet manipulation” – MonTheatre


An hour in a theatre, a day in a biomedical facility, a lifetime in the mind of a chimpanzee.


Chimpanzee is based on the stranger-than-fiction stories of chimpanzees raised as children in human homes, in a series of cross-fostering experiments conducted in the United States.


In this “deeply felt nonverbal memory play” (New York Magazine), a chimpanzee reminisces about the comfort, curiosity and freedom she had growing up in a human family, a contrast to her bleak present-day reality in a biomedical facility.


Shifts in time and place are conveyed through exquisite, lifelike bunraku style puppetry and haunting sound and lighting design.



Created and Directed by Nick Lehane
Puppeteers: Josh Rice, Andy Manjuck, and Emma Wiseman
Lighting Designer and Associate Set
Designer: Marika Kent
Lighting Associate: Jonathan Cottle
Sound Designer: Kate Marvin
Associate Sound Designer and Stage
Manager: Avery Orvis
Puppet and Set Designer: Nick Lehane


“To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.”

– Frans de Waal, primatologist and ethologist


Chimpanzee premiered at HERE Arts Center through Basil Twist’s Dream Music Puppetry Program, with the support of The Jim Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson.


Post-show Talk
Join us for a post-show talk with puppet artist and theatre maker Nick Lehane to learn more about puppetry styles, accompanied by a short demonstration.


Please note that the performance contains flashing lights and scenes that some people may find upsetting.


No admission once performance has begun.

Admission Age:
12 and above.
Language: Non-verbal
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Artist Information

Nick Lehane


Nick Lehane is an award-winning Brooklyn based puppet artist and theatre maker.


His puppet play Chimpanzee premiered at HERE Arts Center through Basil Twist’s Dream Music Puppetry Program, with the support of The Jim Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson. It has since been presented at the World Puppet Theater Festival in Charleville-Mézières, by Casteliers at Théâtre Aux Écuries in Montreal, and by The London International Mime Festival at The Barbican Centre.  


His original work has shown at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Puppet BloK at Dixon Place, The Jim Henson Carriage House, Special Effects Festival at wild project, and Pillsbury House Theatre. Select performance credits are Robin Frohardt’s The Plastic Bag Store and The Pigeoning (HERE Arts Center, international tour), Petrushka (Giants Are Small, New York Philharmonic, Barbican Centre), Islamic Solidarity Games Opening Ceremonies (Baku, Azerbaijan), Doug Fitch’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro (American Symphony Orchestra, Bard SummerScape), James Ortiz’s The Little Mermaid (Glass Bandits Theater, Strangemen Theatre Company), and Lore (Amazon).

Date & Time

26 May 2023, Fri


Esplanade Theatre Studio

27 May 2023, Sat


Esplanade Theatre Studio


Esplanade Theatre Studio

28 May 2023, Sun


Esplanade Theatre Studio
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Cat 1 $38 $30

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Early Bird (21 Mar – 3 Apr 2023)
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From 4 Apr 2023
Black & White: 15% savings
Discover: 10% savings (Limited tickets)


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