Formal Training at ‘Beyond the Sock’ Puppetry Workshop

BeyondTheSock_PerformanceBeyond the Sock Learning with MartyIn June 2016, I was a student of the intensive puppetry workshop called “Beyond the Sock” at the University of North Texas. There, we were taught many of the advanced monitor puppetry techniques used on professional film and TV productions such as Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.

Beyond the Sock chickensWe also learned how to construct our own puppets using a professional pattern for a chicken puppet. Our teachers were high profile Henson puppeteers Marty Robinson (The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street; performer of Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus) and Noel MacNeal (Sesame Street, Bear in the Big Blue House; performer of Bear) for the puppetry performance lessons, with puppet construction training from master puppet builder Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Marty Robinson has been a Henson puppeteer since 1981, and has trained most of the puppeteers of The Muppets and Sesame Street since the early 1990s. He also trains puppeteers for international co-productions of Sesame Street. Beyond the Sock Marty and NoelSo it was very special to be able to train under Marty, Noel and Pasha. Who better than the top masters of this craft to receive some very valuable, professional training?

Beyond the Sock Noel and Marty 2Here are a few photos from this inspiring week!

I took the Beyond the Sock course as part of my three months of professional development in the USA, which included some informal training and rehearsing at The Puppet Kitchen in New York, as well as meeting and performing with American puppeteers of all levels around New York, Los Angeles, and Denton, Texas.

Beyond the Sock Noel and Brett

Beyond the Sock Brett with Chicken1

Beyond the Sock Brett with Chicken2

Beyond the Sock Frazzamatazz on set

Beyond the Sock Noel and Marty with Pasha puppet

Noel with Frazzamatazz

Beyond the Sock Mike and Brett2

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Beyond the Sock Group song

Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, Noel MacNeal

And now have a look at these lovely short videos showcasing the five days of Beyond the Sock 2016. It was a great adventure and well worth the trip if you’re interested in taking part. These videos will surely inspire anyone interested in pursuing professional puppetry to enrol in future Beyond the Sock workshops. It is the highlight of my puppetry career so far, and an experience I will never forget.

– Brett Hansen

 

Troggg’s Jim Henson Tribute in NYC

Jim Henson Memorial

May 16, 2016 – 26 years since Jim Henson (creator of characters from The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and more) tragically passed away at the age of 53. His memorial service was held here at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City.

Jim Henson Memorial

Our very own Troggg decided to visit the church and pay his respects to Jim Henson. After all, he is a major influence on Larrikin Puppets. Brett and Elissa came along too, and were very much in awe of the spectacular gothic style buildings.

See Troggg’s video tribute below:

Many of Troggg’s Muppet heroes sung at this glorious old church at that Jim Henson Memorial Service – Scooter, Wembley Fraggle, Gobo Fraggle, Oscar the Grouch, Fozzie Bear, Big Bird, Gonzo, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, everyone! So even though Troggg is 26 years late to the memorial, he’s very glad to be following in those legendary footsteps with his little talk and song here today.

Have a look at this moving footage of all of Jim’s puppeteer friends (with all of their Muppets) at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine performing an epic rendition of “Just One Person” at his memorial service. Music by Larry Grossman. Lyrics by Hal Hackady:

Here are some more photos of Troggg exploring this grand old cathedral:

Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial

Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial

In loving memory of the great Jim Henson. It was a lovely landmark to see. We’ll be taking a look at some more Muppet-related locations, visiting some conventions, workshops and meeting some more puppeteers as well. So stay tuned.

For more photos of Larrikin Puppets in the USA, please have a look at the ever growing album of images on our Facebook page. Click ‘Like’ while you’re there!

We’ll leave you with another video from the memorial service at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in 1990. It’s Big Bird singing, “Being Green”. We miss you, Jim!