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A Welcome Project Digital Short commission by Aqiong Zhang and Caito Strongarm in Association with Little Angel Theatre

23rd November 2023

Told through the universal language of gesture, Baggage is a sweet and silly puppetry film that wordlessly tells a story of friendship, belonging, and the complex feelings attached to leaving and finding home while retaining personal identity.

Hands are a way for everyone, regardless of who they are and where they’re from, to form connections… especially with little red suitcases.

Combining hand and shadow puppetry, as well as new greetings devised by participants at Phosphorus Theatre, Baggage is a touching film that shows how even when we feel at our most alone, help is always at hand.


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Story written and directed by Aqiong Zhang and Caitlin Strongarm
Shadow scene designed and created by Aqiong Zhang and Caitlin Strongarm
Filmed by Caitlin Strongarm and Aqiong Zhang with the support of Stephen Allwright
Music and sound created by Max Mortimer
Film edited by Caitlin Strongarm and Aqiong Zhang
Puppeteered by Aqiong Zhang, Caitlin Strongarm, Joseph Hennessy, Lorenzo Niyongabo, and Nathan Langridge
Handshakes created by young people from Phosphoros Theatre, residents and neighbours from Omega Works
Background videos of handshakes provided by the website Pixabay
Video enhancement by Ansiaorchestra


Aqiong Zhang is a Chinese artist who recently became an immigrant in the UK. She moved to the UK in 2022 when China was still operating under a strict zero covid policy, and came to London with the intention of trying to find the ‘play’ button to continue her paused life and work. With the act of moving from the known to unknown, she simultaneously experienced feelings of both belonging and isolation. Since her arrival in the UK, Aqiong has worked with various organisations including Little Angel Theatre, SPID Theatre, Bureau of Silly ideas, Ensonglopedia, Polka Theatre, and Chickenshed Theatre as a facilitator, set/costume/puppet designer, puppeteer and performer. Through these projects Aqiong has been able to find a community in a foreign place and feel part of the UK culture whilst still being true to herself. This is why she was so keen to be involved in the Welcome project: which gives others the chance to experience the powerful collaborative spirit the arts can provide.

Caitlin Strongarm is an artist and activist whose work invites playful participation in gentle, silly ways. An applied theatre practitioner, puppeteer and placemaker, Caitlin has worked around the world to co-design interactive artworks that centre community voices on issues of social justice; inclusive, intergenerational and intercultural projects that engage and empower, positively disrupt conventional behaviours and ways of thinking, and connect people through shared experience. Caitlin’s is a co-founder of 3K Art House – radical home, art space and community hub; as well as Save The Warehouses – a grassroots campaign protecting threatened spaces and communities in warehouses across London.
Caitlin believes that communities change the world, that a sense of belonging is critical for humanity, and that art is a powerful conduit for social change.

See more of Caitlin’s work at: