Zen Shorts

Based on Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Adapted for the stage by Rogue Artists Ensemble
Directed by Sean T. Cawelti 

Based on the Caldecott-winning book, Zen Shorts follows three siblings as they navigate the pressures of school, friendship, and the struggles of growing up. But everything changes once a Zen master panda named Stillwater moves into their neighborhood and shares three simple Zen tales that illuminate their world. Using Hyper-theatrical puppet performances, magical video projections, and original songs, Zen Shorts is an adventure filled with imagination, love, and panda philosophy. Produced by special arrangement with Scholastic Books.

Zen Shorts is made possible in part by the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry.

Although this production has been retired you can check out the other all-ages performances available for your school or community event here.

Learn more about Jon J. Muth and purchase a copy of the book!


"I really enjoyed how Stillwater invited the crowd to give their own answers to the concept of zen. There were opportunities for the crowd at times to interact with the puppets during the production, which was great for keeping the kids interested and not afraid to speak out and express their joy…I also thought the use of humor in Zen Shorts was perfect; simple enough for our six-year-old, yet clever enough to keep the adults chuckling as well. Thanks to the wise teachings of Stillwater through his telling of stories, the idea of achieving peace and enlightenment can be understood by ages three to three hundred. Zen Shorts is an amazing show for kids of all ages." 
-PDX Kids Calendar

"Be warned, the organization is not responsible for any sudden outbursts of good will, drowsy or coma-like behavior, unplanned smiles and quiet laughter, or acts of blatant generosity after experiencing this presentation…And the performers are absolutely amazing! The puppets are wonderful, as are the calming music and songs and visual enhancements." 
-Dennis Sparks, All Things Performing Arts

Special Thanks

Zen Shorts is produced by Rogue Artists Ensemble with special permission from Scholastic Books and is made possible by the Munroe Family Foundation, Culver City Arts Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the National Endowment for the Arts and the generosity of countless Rogue Supporters. Special support comes from Epson and the LA Guild of Puppetry.

Production Team

Development by Christina Aimerito, Sean T. Cawelti, John Nobori,
Miles Taber, Thu Tran

Puppet Design by Greg Ballora,
Sean T. Cawelti, Kristin Charney, Christine Papalexis, Jack Pullman

Music Composed by Adrien Prévost

Technical Director/Scenic Design by Pete Hickok

Video Design by Dallas Nichols

Sound Design by Steve Swift

Costume Design by Lori Meeker

Lighting Design by Joey Guthman

Props Design by Glenn Michael Baker

Dramaturge: Sarah Kay Peters

Stage Manager:
Jeremy Charles Hohn