We always like to teach about kindness and joy here at Larrikin Puppets. We also like to practice what we preach. Practice kindness and practice spreading joy.
Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins, along with their troupe of friendly and funny puppet characters provide top quality entertainment and fun for childcare centres all over Brisbane, Ipswich, Gympie, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Moreton Bay Region!
Spending time with other puppeteers is one of our favourite things to do! We’ve met several puppeteers from around Australia, but we’ve also met lots and lots of puppeteers from the USA – including many Jim Henson puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street!
May 2019 has been a great month for catching up with some of our Australian puppeteer friends.
Last weekend we had Toby Cheffins and Pamela Cheffins from Ghostpuppet GB come to stay with us on Bribie Island (QLD) – all the way from Perth (WA)! So of course we spent lots of time playing with puppets and mucking around with the monitor. Here’s a video compilation of crazy shenanigans.
And today we spent the day at The Puppetarium in Maleny, QLD designing, planning and being measured up for a big octopus puppet, which will be built by Rebecca Dostal. Troggg and Ruby chat about it here.
At any given opportunity we love to spend time meeting with other puppeteers and puppet builders – sharing a coffee, jamming with the puppets, working on new puppet builds and simply swapping stories. Puppeteers and puppet builders are very fascinating people with amazing stories to tell!
Thank you very much again to Toby and Pamela from Ghostpuppet GB (Perth, WA) and Rebecca from The Puppetarium (Maleny, QLD) for two lovely weekends of puppet fun!
This week Larrikin Puppets are performing childcare centre incursion puppet shows for a couple of the great childcare centre chains – Sunkids and Kool Kids.
On Thursday 16th of May Brett and Elissa will be performing their childcare centre incursion puppet show at Kool Kids Early Learning Centre The Commons Casuarina (aka Kool Kids The Commons), which is a childcare centre in Casuarina NSW – not far over the Queensland / New South Wales border.
And then next week on Tuesday 21st of May, Elissa will be joining Brett again for a Story Time puppet show at Griffith University Early Childhood Education Centre – Tallowwood Centre at Nathan Campus as part of their Under 8’s Day celebrations. We perform all kinds of childcare centre incursion shows in all kinds of centres.
Be kind to others who are different to you. Be kind to yourself if you are different from others. Share fun and food, not fear.
Out of concern for younger children’s understanding of other cultures in times of graphic news, Larrikin Puppets seeks community support to adapt Hijabi Girl into a musical theatre performance featuring newly created puppets.
Hijabi Girl is a children’s book for ages 7-9 co-authored by prolific Australian author Hazel Edwards OAM and children’s librarian Ozge Alkan, and illustrated by Serena Geddes. Written five years ago, and much reprinted, it is a refreshing look at the diverse cultures within most Australian schools.
With themes around diversity, identity, anti-bullying and creative problem-solving that align with Australia’s national school curriculum, Hijabi Girl is a celebration of acceptance and coping successfully with being different.
‘Hijabi Girl’ Melek wants to start a girls’ footy team and write a book with a character in a hijab for Book Week Parade dressups. She’s so ‘over’ being Little Red Riding Hood.
Larrikin Puppets’ Artistic Director Elissa Jenkins said creating a puppet show for a children’s audience based on a book full of cultural sensitivities required concerted research and development: new puppet builds, custom stage sets, converted scripts and original songs.
“While we are happy to invest our time into script development, songwriting and rehearsing, as we are neither puppet builders nor set designers, we need funding to support the creation of the puppets and the set, including materials,” she said.
Larrikin Puppets is calling on the generosity of the public to help fund the performance project via social cause crowdfunding platform Chuffed.
With age relevant puppets, music and songs for 7-9 year olds, Larrikin Puppets will transform the Hijabi Girl storybook into a visual extravaganza using 21 spectacular human puppets, fish puppets, pencil puppets, a rice paper roll puppet and a kebab puppet in the style of The Muppets & Fraggle Rock. It will also be the company’s first foray into black light (UV) puppetry.
Children’s librarian and co-author Ozge Alkan, a Muslim Australian who herself wears a hijab, said one of the reasons she wanted Hijabi Girl out there was because it tells the story of a girl who dresses differently to everyone else, and is totally fine with who she is.
“When the constant TV news message you hear is that different is bad and scary, it helps to have other messages that accept and celebrate being different,” Ozge said.
Best known for ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof eating Cake’, Hazel Edwards said they wanted Muslim students to read the ‘Hijabi Girl’ book and be reassured that there were characters like them in books.
“All children deserve that reassurance,” said Hazel.
“Also, once you have an understanding of another’s customs, there is no need to fear the unknown,” she said.
Hijabi Girl is now in its fourth reprint and is being read and enjoyed by students of all ages and backgrounds.
“The fan mail has been inspiring,” said Hazel.
Larrikin Puppets hopes to raise $8000 in 90 days to create the show and $20,000 to tour it nationally. They recently received a $4000 anonymous donation which has certainly inspired them to make it to the finish line!
Support is already coming in strongly, but the project is not without its naysayers.
“We thought most objections would come in from loud minorities who actively preach hate and intolerance, but we’ve also received a few objections from otherwise progressive individuals, specifically atheists and feminists, which has baffled me a bit,” said Elissa, herself a feminist.
“However, as a first generation Australian – a child of migrants – and a long-time and public advocate of secular schooling and secular government, I am passionate about this project because I don’t want any child in any Australian school, nor their families in local communities, who follow a particular religion to be discriminated against in schools or society at large,” she said.
“At the moment the religion copping the brunt of hatred and vilification are Muslim Australians.
“Hijabi Girl the book and Hijabi Girl: The Musical Puppet Show is not evangelising a particular religion. It’s not actually that profound and complex. It’s a fun story showing acceptance and kindness to children and people of different faiths.
“It’s not about changing the secular laws of our country nor the secular teachings in our schools. It’s about saying no to hate and yes to kindness.
“Be kind to others who are different to you. Be kind to yourself if you are different from others. Share fun and food, not fear.”
We can’t wait to add puppets, colour and music to the mix,” said Elissa.
Noosaville, Redcliffe and Cooroy can expect some crazy puppet fun this week when Larrikin Puppets set out to perform at three exciting events!
The first performance is a private event. Brett will be performing a fun childcare centre puppet show for all the children at Noosaville Childcare and Preschool Centre this Wednesday morning (8 May, 2019).
Then on Friday morning (10 May, 2019) it’s time for Redcliffe families to enjoy our puppets! We’re performing at public event – The Redcliffe Teddy Bear’s Picnic being held at Crockatt Park, Woody Point. We’ll be performing a special ocean themed puppet show at this event called “Marina’s Marine Adventure with Larrikin Puppets”. Our puppet show starts at 9:15am. It’s an outdoor festival aimed at under 5s.
Big day on Saturday (11 May, 2019) – We’re performing our puppet show THREE times at the Cooroy Fusion Festival 2019! This is another public event. We had a great time performing at this event last year. We will be situated at the terraced amphitheatre between the Cooroy Library and the Butter Factory Arts Centre. Our puppet shows are at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Bring the family! It’s a big fun filled day of entertainment!
So that’s two shows up Noosa way, and a return to Redcliffe where we’ve performed several times before at events such as the Redcliffe Sails Festival, the R.O.P.E Camp AGM and many birthday parties.
Do come along to see us at the two public festival events – Redcliffe Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Cooroy Fusion Festival – and please take as many photos of the puppets as you like for Facebook and Instagram. We love to look back and see how much fun everyone had at our puppet shows. Sharing is caring!
A big day for Larrikin Puppets this Wednesday the 1st of May, 2019. We are spending all day at Talara Primary College in Currimundi on the Sunshine Coast to run FOUR puppetry performance workshops for the students!
Currimundi is a suburb in the Sunshine Coast Region of Queensland, Australia. It is located within the Caloundra urban centre, 5 kilometres north of the suburb of Caloundra.
We have completed three months of professional development in the USA, which included performances and advanced, formal training with Jim Henson puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street.
The Lockyer Valley Heritage Festival is happening THIS WEEKEND! We’d love to see everyone at Laidley Pioneer Village (Pioneer St, Laidley) and Das Neumann Haus (Cnr William and Patrick St, Laidley) this Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5!
Please click “Going” on the official Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/429924864449573/
Our puppet shows will take place on both days of the Lockyer Valley Heritage Festival in both venues. There will be two puppet shows on Saturday May 4 at the Laidley Pioneer Village – 10am and 12pm. And then there will be two puppet shows on Sunday May 5 at Das Neumann Haus – 10am and 12pm. Be sure to bring the whole family along! It’s set to be a massive weekend of fun and history!
3rd Birthday Party puppet shows are quite popular bookings here at Larrikin Puppets, but they’re mostly held on Saturday or Sunday mornings or afternoons. This Monday Troggg and the gang are coming to perform for Ruby and her friends and family in the early evening!
Larrikin Puppets quite often perform night time puppet shows – Over the weekend we performed at the South Indian Festival in the hall at Acacia Ridge State School. We’ve performed in restaurants, bars and other evening festival events after dark. It’s not common for a 3rd birthday party to occur after dark, but it makes for another great option for people whose weekends are too booked up for a birthday party.
So if you’re looking for a puppet show for your 3rd birthday party or any kind of party or event, please feel free to book us for an after school or evening time slot during the week. We’re quite happy to visit your event whenever you like.