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Produced by Cahoots NI

From Belfast, Northern Ireland

About the Company
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This incredible story of resilience and friendship, inspired by true events, comes to life through large-scale puppetry, illusion, and magic.

Jenny, a young elephant, is born in the 1900s in Bengal, India and full of curiosity about the world around her. But one day her life changes dramatically when she is captured and separated from her family. She must learn the ways of humans, which is sometimes cruel and hard, but her friendship with a young boy called Opu carries her through this time.


When Jenny is sold to a circus in America, she must make the strange journey across the sea to a new world filled with many adventures, but she never stops thinking of home. She eventually meets the great Harry Houdini who plans to make her disappear from the stage of the Hippodrome, New York. Meanwhile, far away in India, her old friend Opu is now an old man and he recognizes his dear friend in a newspaper story. Despite ill health, he makes the same difficult journey to New York that Jenny once made. There on the stage, they meet again one last time, and together they are part of an amazing and moving magical vanishing.  

This large scale production premeired in NYC on October 14 2023, presented by the New Victory, and was declared a Critic's Pick by the New York Times -  "This alluring spectacle..., which aims to dazzle audiences 8 and older, makes powerful statements about the rights of both animals and human beings." 

Read the full NYT review here.

Best for Grades: 3rd+

Audience Size: Medium to Large Venues


Full Length Performance video coming in Nov! 

Check out this Behind-the-Scenes video of the Puppetry development session with Puppet Designer and Maker Helen Foan.

Curriculum Connections

Curriculum Connections

  • Science : Animals, Nature, Habitats

  • Geography : Landscapes, Climates, Cultures/Around the World

  • History:  1920s, Where we have come from, where we are now, how things have changed

  • Language and Literacy : Storytelling, Discussion, Debate

  • Personal Development and Mutual Understanding : Kindness, Relationships, Family, Friendship, Immigration, Displacement, Exclusion

  • The Arts : Theatre, Magic, Design, Circus, Puppetry, Music

  • Social & Emotional Learning: Character Building, Personal Development, Problem Solving, and Mutual Understanding

Minimum Tech

Minimum Technical Requirements

Coming Soon!


Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Director: Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney

Writer: Charles Way

Puppetry Director & Maker: Helen Foan

Designer: Sabine Dargent

Touring Company Will include:

8 Cast Members

2 Puppeteers

2 Crew Members

The Vanishing Elephant will feature stunning puppets designed and made by Helen Foan, including a baby elephant, a young adult elephant, a fully grown adult elephant and a tiger.

Critical Acclaim

Critical Acclaim

Critic's Pick by the New York Times -  "This alluring spectacle..., which aims to dazzle audiences 8 and older, makes powerful statements about the rights of both animals and human beings."  Read the full Laurel Graeber, NYT review here.

‘Clever and immensely touching’ - Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town

‘A Soulful family concoction that evokes “War Horse” and “Life of PI”’
‘Undeniably moving’ - Adrian Dimanlig

‘a masterclass in puppetry’ - Karla Borders Pope, Brown Girl Gumbo

‘enchanting and mesmerising’- Anu Kapur, Macaroni Kid

‘Stunning’ - Serena Norr, Westchester Family

‘This show taught me that friendship can be everlasting if you have a really strong connection with someone, not even time or distance can break that.’ ‘Astonishing!’ - Broadway World ‘Kid Critics’

‘The most amazing theater experience for families...the show was incredible (still mesmerised by Jenny the elephant!)” - Little Kid Big City New York, Instagram

                                                                                            AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

“...beautiful and sad and meaningful and powerful, the best theatre I’ve seen on stage in some time.” - Audience Feedback

“This is a beautiful and very moving theatre piece.” - Comment on NY Times Article

“Saw this show today with our 7 and 9yo. This is a wonderfully poignant piece for all ages. The New Victory Theater truly is at the forefront of bringing first-rate family programming to the city. My family looks forward to every season.” - Comment on NY Times Article

“Intelligent, Entertaining, Relevant, Sensitive, Absorbing” “Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Exquisite, Enchanting” - Show

“Loved the story as a whole, it was very enchanting.” - Audience Feedback

“We went this afternoon with two 8 year olds - a HUGE HIT, ‘Mom - that was actually REALLY good’” - Audience Feedback

“It’s such a fabulous show. The elephant puppet is fascinating, and truly mesmerising to watch. It has so much personality and character!” - Audience Feedback

“What an experience!!” - Audience Feedback

“It was beautiful, one day all of us vanish” - Audience Feedback

Company Background


Past Tours: Secrets of Space, Penguins, Shh! We Have a Plan, Egg , Danny Carmo's Mathematical Mysteries, Nivelli's War, and Lights, Camera, Math!


Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children.  Since beginning operations in November 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, boldly innovative work for children, some staged in conventional theatre venues and some in purpose-designed sites or specific locations, including schools and healthcare settings. Its work concentrates on combining the visual potential of theatre with the age-old popularity of magic and illusion. 

For more information, please visit the company’s website.

Director - Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney

Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney is from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and is the Founder and Artistic Director of Cahoots.

His recent Theatre writing credits include; Penguins, Shh! We Have a Plan, Egg, Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries and The Magic Hat. In his role as Artistic Director Paul has produced and directed many productions, most recently The University of Wonder and Imagination  (International Zoom Tour 2020), The Grimm Hotel (Immersive Walk-Through Experience, Belfast 2021) and Secrets of Space (USA Tour 2022). Paul has worked extensively as an illusion consultant on many different productions, ranging from Shakespeare in the open air to Broadway musicals. As an actor, Paul was nominated for the prestigious Ian Charleson award and received a Commendation from the National Theatre for his performance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. In November 2011, The Belfast Metropolitan College honoured Paul with an Award of Distinction for his contribution to the Arts.


Puppetry Director and Maker - Helen Foan

Helen is a freelance designer, maker and director of puppetry for theatre and live performance. She trained at East 15 Acting School where she studied on the Contemporary Theatre and Acting BA (Hons).

Helen started working as a puppet maker with Blind Summit Theatre Company in 2011 where she created puppets for Le Rossignol at the Bregenz International Opera Festival and Citizen Puppet at the Edinburgh festival (fringe first award winner 2015) As a puppet maker Helen has worked with the leading designers Mervyn Millar and Tracy Waller (Significant Object)  for Circus 1903, Samuel Wyer for The Wizard of Oz, Jimmy Grimes for 101 Dalmations, Max Humphries for Dinosaur World Live, Jo Lakin and Mervyn Millar for The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Helen’s work as a designer and director of puppetry includes: Ben Crystal’s Dreame at the Ucheldre Centre, Wales; Seven Stages Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Portsmouth, New Hampshire USA; Passion in Practice’s Henry V at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe; Caliban and the Magick Booke at the British Library for their Shakespeare’s Birthday 2016 Celebrations; Finger in the Pies’ Moby Dick at the Greenwich Theatre. Other credits include: Puppet and set design for Barmpot Theatres’ PenguinPig; puppet design for Snark the Musical’s Hunting The Snark, Pants on Fire’s Pinocchio at (the Pleasance) Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Helen has run puppetry workshops for children, adults and professional performers in London and around the world, including New Zealand, Japan, and the USA, and teaches regularly at East 15 Acting School.


Charles Way - Writer

Charles is one of Britain’s leading writer’s for children and young people. In 2016 he was honoured by Action for Children’s Arts for his contribution to children’s theatre. Charles began writing plays professionally in 1978 when he joined Leeds Playhouse TIE team. He has now written over fifty plays, and his work is produced all over the world. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘The Search for Odysseus’ were both nominated as Best Children's Play by the Writer's Guild of Great Britain and ‘A Spell of Cold Weather’ won the award in1996. His play about the percussionist Evelyn Glennie, which was first produced at the Polka Theatre was nominated as Best Children's Show by the TMA, as was ‘Nivelli’s War’ for Cahoots which transferred to Broadway in 2017. His version of ‘The Borrowers’ won the award in a production for Northern Stage directed by Erica Whyman in 2014.

He has enjoyed a close relationship with the Unicorn Theatre in London for whom he wrote ‘The Flood’ published by Collins and in 2004 ’Red Red Shoes’ which won the English Arts council’s ‘Children’s Award’. He was commissioned by the National Theatre for the ‘Assembly’ project to write ‘Alice in the News’, which has subsequently been performed by children all over Britain. In 2010 the author was the recipient of the prestigious German children’s theatre prize for ‘Missing’ about child poverty and in 2004 'Merlin and the Cave of Dreams', was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for the 'Outstanding New Play’ in Washington DC.  Recent works include ‘The Grimm Hotel’, ’Under the Hawthorn Tree’, ‘The Gift’, ‘The Assistant’s Revenge’, ‘Secrets of Space’ and’ The Vanishing Elephant’ all for Cahoots.


Sabine Dargent - Designer

Sabine Dargent works mostly in theatre, but also on film and exhibitions. She has a long standing working relationship with director Mikel Murfi, designing set and sometimes costumes for his productions at the Abbey Theatre, Druid and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. She has also worked regularly with directors Enda Walsh (for Druid), Jim Culleton of Fishamble and Conall Morrison. She has also designed productions for Cahoots, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Siren Productions, Kabosh, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Everyman Theatre, Second Age Theatre Company, Big Telly Theatre Company, Barnstorm Theatre Company, TEAM Theatre, Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, Galloglass Theatre Company and Rex Levitates (now Liz Roche Company). For the last several years, she has designed for the Dublin St Patrick’s Festival Parade (200 costumes, props and floats). In France, she designed for TGV and was in-house design assistant to Serge Noyelle (Théâtre de Chatillon) and Antonio Diaz Florian (l’Epée de Bois).

Past Productions

Past Productions
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