Australian Puppetry Exhibition at QPAC (QLD)

A free puppetry exhibition called “Puppet People: A snapshot of Australian Puppetry” is being held at the Tony Gould Gallery at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (Brisbane) from 10 Oct 2017 – 27 Jan 2018.

Some of the puppets on display at the exhibition have been lent by South Australian puppeteer Keith Preston from Preston’s Historic Punch and Judy.

The Tony Gould Gallery is located on the ground floor at the entrance to the Cremorne Theatre, facing the river and about half way along the side of QPAC’s building. The closest parking is at the Performing Arts Car Park. Also close by is the Grey Street entrance to the Brisbane Convention Centre.

The Gallery is open, free of charge, from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm during exhibition seasons.

Information about this exhibition was first published in the UNIMA Australia Newsletter in September, 2017. Information about the Tony Gould Gallery was sourced from the QPAC website.

Larrikin Puppets is a member company of UNIMA Australia.

2017 What’s On 4 Kids Awards & Conference

On Saturday, 10 June 2017, Elissa and I had a lovely time with our children’s entertainment and activity provider industry peers at the 2017 National What’s On 4 Kids Conference and Awards.

The guest speakers at the conference taught us a lot about our industry and all the different ways we can share our services with parents and teachers.

We even got to meet TV stars Tina Harris and Mark Harris from Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band – as seen nationally on ABC Kids, Channel Seven and Nick Jr.

The awards night was a fun gala dinner where we recognised all the entertainers and activity providers around Australia who are doing great things for kids.

We were a finalist in the ‘Best Party Entertainment’ category.

Best Children’s Party Entertainment (Party Planners and Entertainers, Clowns etc) sponsored by Lah Lah’s Big Live Band

Winner – Kids Disco Parties

  • Happily Ever Laughter Children’s Entertainment
  • Larrikin Puppets
  • Strawberry Fundaes Kids Parties
  • Superstar Parties
  • SuperSteph’s Super Party Heroes
  • Unreal Kids Parties

To be a finalist is a big deal in itself! And while other categories all had five finalists, ours had seven! A huge congratulations to the winning finalist Kids Disco Parties. They provide kids around Melbourne with awesome dance parties at schools and birthday events each week!

We brought Troggg and Flossy along to bring lots of smiles and laughter to everybody in attendance at both the conference and the awards, and received a lot of very nice compliments, and posed in a lot of photos and selfies with everybody.

It was a very fun weekend at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane.

Brett 🙂

 

 

 

2017 Queensland Small Business Week

Support Larrikin Puppets entry into 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by liking our video

Puppets at Work_smallerLarrikin Puppets wants to bring play to workforces with Puppets At Work, our new corporate arm. To help make this happen, please support our entry into the 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by LIKING our video entry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The more likes and shares the post gets, the more chance we have to win a $10,000 grant to help us fund and launch the project! Competition ends on May 15, 2017.

The direct link to the video on Facebook (where you can “like” and “share” it) is: https://www.facebook.com/LarrikinPuppets/videos/901302536675069/

If you’re on Twitter, the direct link to “like” and “retweet” is: https://twitter.com/LarrikinPuppets/status/862653090897448960

If you’re on Instagram, the direct link to “like” it there is: https://www.instagram.com/p/BT88ssIhDuC/

Thank you for your support!

Brett and Elissa

Big thanks to Business Queensland!

#QLDsmallbiz #Time2thriveQLD

What’s On 4 Kids 2017 Awards Finalist – Larrikin Puppets

Bribie Weekly close up cover pagePreviously we wrote a blog post about how Larrikin Puppets was nominated in the national What’s On 4 Kids Awards in the ‘Best Party Entertainment’ category.

Well, thanks to all of your votes, we are now a finalist in that category! Thank you very much, everybody!

What's On 4 Kids Finalist

We’ve answered some interview questions and are looking forward to attending the big What’s On 4 Kids Conference and the Awards Dinner, both being held on Saturday, 10 June at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane.

Larrikin Puppets Deja Voodoo WoodfordTroggg and Fossy (with Brett and Elissa) will be attending too, and meeting several other great entertainers and educators from around Australia.

 

 

The Best Children’s Party Entertainer category (Party Planners and Entertainers, Clowns etc) sponsored by Lah Lah’s Big Live Band has been narrowed down to seven finalists. They are:

 

  • Happily Ever Laughter Children’s Entertainment
  • Kids Disco Parties
  • Larrikin Puppets
  • Strawberry Fundae Kids Parties
  • Superstar Parties
  • SuperSteph’s Super Party Heroes
  • Unreal Kids Parties

Childcare Centre1A lot of competition here from some truly amazing and hard working entertainers. So please keep your fingers and toes crossed for little old us! 🙂

Whatever the outcome, we’re looking forward to spending a full day and night listening to guest speakers who are industry leaders in the children’s entertainment biz, and cheering on our fellow finalists who all share our passion for bringing smiles and laughter to their little faces, and making life fun and full of wonder and joy.

 

 

Short Australian documentary: The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer posterCaboolture film maker Gabor Kukucska set himself a challenge to make 52 short documentaries in 2017. That’s one per week! These documentaries are about inspirational people. And one of these people is Queensland puppeteer Brett Hansen – founder of Larrikin Puppets.

From childhood bullying and awful workplaces to personal difficulties like unemployment and the end of his first marriage, this 13 minute film tells the whole story. Strong encouragement from his loving family helped shape Brett’s life, and eventually he met the love of his life Elissa Jenkins, whose support has meant the world to Brett in the continuing growth of Larrikin Puppets.

The film also talks about the types of bookings Larrikin Puppets receive, including puppet shows and puppetry workshops. We learn about the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne, and Brett’s advanced training in the USA with puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street.

This is the teaser trailer that was shown in the lead up to the film’s official release:

The full 13 minute film is available to see now for free at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ by creating a free (and quick) login or signing in with Facebook. The login gate is because film festivals don’t accept films with full public access on YouTube or other such video sharing sites. We would love to see this film accepted and screened at festivals around the world. But we would also love you to login and see the film here and now at the InspireFlix website (formerly My Doco Club). 

Here’s the preliminary video from Facebook starring Troggg the blue monster: https://www.facebook.com/InspireFlix/videos/1795284477458119

NOW LIVE at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ – “The Puppeteer” – Brett’s dream to become a working puppeteer, and the struggles and triumphs along the way.

The Puppeteer poster

FILM CREDITS

Brett Hansen, Elissa Jenkins, Ross Hansen, Sandra Gartner, Troggg, Freerange the Chicken, Frazzamatazz.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Production – Buyah Media
Cinematography – Gabor Kukucska

The Puppeteer

 

 

 

Monitor Puppetry Fun

13138838_692674444204547_5162928063159616197_nMonitor puppetry is the style of puppetry developed by Jim Henson for performance on film and television productions. Unlike traditional live performance puppetry, the puppeteers don’t look at their puppets. They perform their characters up high above their heads, and watch their puppetry in a TV monitor. This enables the puppeteer to see if the puppet has good eye focus, good lip sync, and is able to walk correctly into a frame, and perform many tasks within that frame without looking stupid.

13138825_692674597537865_4605362707860616108_nThis is why the puppetry on The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and all associated TV shows and movies look so good on screen. It’s because the puppeteers are able to see exactly how their puppets will look to the viewer at home. This is a perk that most actors don’t get to enjoy. A human actor must perform their scenes without ever looking at themselves on any monitor. Whereas puppeteers are blind on set if they have to crouch and hide behind tables and props without being able to see what they’re doing. The puppet is the star, and so the puppet (like human actors) still performs its scenes as normal. But the hidden puppeteer is the one controlling the puppet. So the puppeteer is allowed to watch their puppets on the TV monitor to make sure the movements are perfect. It wouldn’t be fair to expect the puppeteer to perform blind.

Beyond the Sock Brett with Chicken1Monitor puppetry is a great way for puppeteers to practice their movements. From subtle facial emotions to wild arm movements, watching your puppetry skills on a monitor is a very good way to practice and improve.

 

 

BeyondTheSock_PerformanceBrett Hansen at Larrikin Puppets has been practicing and perfecting his puppetry skills since the age of three, and has taught many workshops in theatre, film and schools on the basic movements of Muppet-style puppetry. He even produced a live monitor puppetry improv show, where audiences could watch the cast of puppeteers at work, while also being able to watch a large screen displaying only the puppets being performed into the camera. This was a live example of how the puppeteers see their puppetry on the monitor, and then that performance is broadcast/displayed onto the screen for the audience to see.

Puppet Workshop003

Puppet Workshop005But as there has never been any formal training in monitor puppetry in Australia, Brett’s only training has been both at The Puppet Kitchen in New York City (under Sesame Street’s Michael Schupbach), and at the advanced, intensive ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas (under The Muppets and Sesame Street’s Marty Robinson and Noel MacNeal).

Brett now provides this kind of training through Larrikin Puppets for specially arranged class bookings.

Brett, Elissa, Michael SchupbachBrett’s wife and business partner Elissa Jenkins also received some training at The Puppet Kitchen in New York, and this was her first training. She has since continued to practice her skills and has also started joining Brett as a secondary puppeteer at some of the larger events (such as Woodford Folk Festival and Paradise Resort Gold Coast).

So here now is a hilarious outtake video where Brett (as Troggg) and Elissa (as Flossy) are practicing some monitor puppetry, and working on the challenges that arise, such as trying to avoid heads and arms appearing in shot. Lots of laughs during this quite challenging activity. It’s certainly not as easy as it looks. But it’s definitely as fun as it looks!

Larrikin Puppets collaborate with Happy Feet Fitness

Happy Feet FitnessLarrikin Puppets are very much looking forward to working with the Queensland staff of Happy Feet Fitness in February. Happy Feet Fitness is a wonderful organisation that teaches kids about fitness and healthy choices through fun songs, dancing and games.

 

 

 

Brett School Puppetry Workshop2There’s also an element of puppetry. So we’re very excited to be running a fun puppetry workshop for the staff, teaching them puppetry for live performance, and monitor puppetry for film and TV.

This is not the first time Happy Feet Fitness and Larrikin Puppets have crossed paths. Both companies have performed in many of the same childcare centres, particularly Guppy’s Early Learning Centres around South East Queensland.

BeyondTheSock_PerformanceYou can find more information about Happy Feet Fitness at their Facebook page, and on their official website.

You can find more information on Larrikin Puppets at our Facebook page also. Like us to see all latest updates! You can also find us on Instagram posting regular photos.

 

Happy feet, I’ve got those happy feet
Give them a low down beat
And they begin dancing
I’ve got those ten little tapping toes
And when they hear a tune
I can’t control my dancing heels
To save my soul

Weary blues can’t get into my shoes
Because my shoes refuse to ever grow weary
I keep cheerful on an earful of music sweet
‘Cause I’ve got happ happ happy feet

Weary blues can’t get in our shows
Because our shoes refuse to ever grow weary
We keep cheerful on an earful of music sweet
‘Cause we’ve got happ happ happy
‘Cause we’ve got happ happ happy feet
Feet!

 

Music by: Milton Ager
Lyrics by: Jack Yellen
Date: 1930
Source: King of Jazz (film)
Publisher: Warner Bros., Inc.

Happy Feet Fitness – Fun and Fitness just for Kids

An environment where children will laugh,
learn and grow in confidence. 

 

 

Kev (Brisbane puppet film) shortlisted for Tropfest 25

Kev Poster1Kev – The film that our very own puppet star Frizzby starred in (with the help of his handler Brett Hansen) – was shortlisted for Tropfest 25. It didn’t make the finalists, but to be on the shortlist is a great achievement in itself.

Kev (a Griffith Film School student film, written by Branden J Wittchen, directed Luke Angelo-Roberts & Branden J Wittchen, and produced by Emma Giddins) is not for children, as it contains adult themes and course language.

Puppet Cop from KevBrett performed the puppetry for two characters in the film – Kev (a bigoted Aussie orange monster played by Frizzby) and a bumbling puppet Police officer who has his priorities all wrong.

You can see and read more about the film at the official Kev Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KevShortFilm/

Kev EvilPhotos from the set of Kev can also be found in a photo album at the Larrikin Puppets Facebook page here.

Kev poster

Why Not? Films and Griffith Film School presents ‘Kev’. A Luke & Brando Film. The film stars Candice Hill, Ryan Hance and Abhi Mehta, along with Brett Hansen as the puppeteer and voice for both Kev and the Cop.

Fun Fact: Much of the filming of Kev took place at Shaw Road News, a popular community news agent store in Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Writer/Director Branden J Wittchen was a staff member of the store, and was able to secure the permission to use the store after hours as a filming location, and the main setting of the film itself.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

Woodford Folk Festival 2016/17

Larrikin Puppets Deja Voodoo WoodfordIt has been a great honour and privilege to be a part of the “De Ja Voodoo” sideshow family for a week at Woodford Folk Festival.

Woodford6Run by headline performers Zoe Ellis (Zoe L’Amore of Electric Dollhouse) and Chayne Hultgren (The Space Cowboy), Larrikin Puppets shared the stage in the ‘Deja Voodoo’ sideshow dome every day with Ruben de Waal (Dr. Rube’s Flea Circus) and Shep Huntly (Dr. Hubble’s Big Bubble Show) at the children’s events.

Elissa and I performed three puppet shows a day, every day at the festival. Woodford4

This has been a truly amazing and memorable experience. Woodford Folk Festival is one of Australia’s biggest festivals, and I feel very blessed to have been invited to be a part of it.

Happy New Year!

Brett Hansen – Larrikin Puppets

Woodford2
Woodford5

Woodford3

 

 

 

 

 

If you run a festival and would like us to perform, Larrikin Puppets festival puppet shows are usually $450 per show and roving is usually $90 per hour. However, for more than one performance we can do a deal for you. Contact us here to discuss.

Puppet Show details –
Suitable for the whole family, this puppet show is 30 minutes of songs, games, jokes, skits and comical interaction with the audience, followed by an additional 5 minute demonstration on how the puppets work, and a 10 minute meet and greet, where the kids have an opportunity to have their photo taken with Troggg, our friendly blue monster star.
Total duration: 45 minutes.

Roving details –
Brett wanders around events with Troggg the blue monster and/or Moss the green monster. Elissa wanders around events with Flossy the pink monster. Guests can chat and mingle with Troggg/Moss/Flossy, and get their photo taken with them.

Additional inclusions for the cost:
– Time allowance for travel to and from the event, set-up and pack-up of the puppet stage, props, puppets and sound equipment.
– Rehearsal time prior to the event.

PLEASE NOTE: Events that require us to travel long distances (ie. flights from Brisbane or drives longer than three hours from Brisbane) will incur additional costs such as flights, excess baggage, fuel and accomodation for two. If your budget allows for this, please contact us to make arrangements.

 

You can find out more about our festival performances under the “Fetes and Festivals” section of this website. We’d be more than happy to discuss options. Troggg and his furry friends love performing at festivals!

 

 

Brett Hansen Puppeteer Showreel

Brett Hansen Puppeteer Showreel – 2 Min, 45 Sec Version. This shorter version features clips from puppet shows, Vox Poppin’, Juiced TV, Cluck! The Web Series, Heart of a Thousand Souls, 5 for 35, Avenue Q, Thank Troggg You’re Here, The Hobble & Snitch Show, Murra Murra and The Late Nite Show.

Brett Hansen Puppeteer Showreel – 4 Minute Version. Features clips from puppet shows, Juiced TV, Cluck! The Web Series, Heart of a Thousand Souls, 5 for 35, Avenue Q, The Hobble & Snitch Show, Sam The Ham, Murra Murra, The Late Nite Show, Thank Troggg You’re Here, and Vox Poppin’.

Brett HansenBrett Hansen is the principal puppeteer at Larrikin Puppets, and won the 2015 BizCover NEIS Change Award at the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne for his work forming and growing the company over its first three years.

Brett’s weekly puppetry work consists mostly of live performances at childcare centres, schools, libraries, festivals and birthday parties around South-East Queensland. He also runs beginner puppetry workshops at schools. Brett spent a week in residence at Belmont State School teaching each child from prep to year 6 the art of storytelling through puppetry as part of the 2016 Belmont Literary Carnivale.

In 2016, Brett spent three months in the USA for professional development where he networked, trained and performed with puppeteers in New York City, Los Angeles and Texas. He received formal puppetry training at the Beyond The Sock advanced puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas under Marty Robinson (The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street) and Noel MacNeal (Sesame Street, Bear in the Big Blue House), with puppet construction training from Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Brett also trained at The Puppet Kitchen in Manhattan, New York under Michael Schupbach (Sesame Street, The Jim Henson Company), performed in New York City at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn.

Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, Noel MacNeal

Brett Hansen with Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, and Noel MacNeal.

In theatre, Brett was puppetry trainer for the casts of both the 2012 and 2014 Brisbane Arts Theatre productions of Broadway musical, ‘Avenue Q‘. Brett was also a puppeteer cast member in the 2012 production, co-performing the characters of Nicky and Trekkie Monster. Brett’s own improv theatre show ‘Thank Troggg You’re Here: A Puppet Impro Spectacular!’ debuted at the 2014 Anywhere Theatre Festival and has been performed several times to large audiences.

Brett also performed the puppetry for Studio Theatre & Cafe’s Saturday morning kids’ stage show, ‘The Super Weekend Show’.

In film, Brett performed the puppet characters in Richard Bell’s ‘5 for 35’, which screened at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) at GOMA (Queensland’s Gallery Of Modern Art) in 2015-2016. He also assisted with the puppetry in ‘Cluck: The Web Series’, puppeteered Troggg in the short film ‘Heart of a Thousand Souls’, and puppeteered two characters in the short film ‘Kev’. On TV, Brett has performed puppetry on ‘The Late Nite Show’ and ‘Showreel’ (both at Channel 31) and hosted (as Troggg) an episode of ‘Juiced TV’, a children’s programme created in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Some of this work can be seen in both the short and long versions of Brett’s puppeteer showreel.