Larrikin Puppets perform at QPAC for My Fair Lady Cast and Company

My Fair Lady Larrikin Puppets QPACLarrikin Puppets had the great honour and privilege of being chosen as corporate entertainment for the cast and company of My Fair Lady (Opera Australia), directed by Dame Julie Andrews. Our puppet show was held on the rooftop terrace at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on Wednesday, 26 April 2017. Among the very special members of our audience were Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey), Anna O’Byrne, Reg Livermore, Robyn Nevin, Mark Vincent, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Deidre Rubenstein, Josh Gates, Joel Parnis and Don Winsor.

My Fair Lady QPAC puppet showThe mastermind behind booking Larrikin Puppets to entertain the show’s cast and company was cast member Don Winsor, who thought an adult level puppet show would be a fun surprise for everybody during their farewell BBQ between shows on the production’s final week in Brisbane.

My Fair Lady TestimonialThe premise of this specially tailored puppet show had the puppets auditioning for a puppet version of My Fair Lady, with Frizzby serving as host, and Troggg auditioning for the role of Eliza Doolittle (arguing with Flossy about the difference between the Cockney flower girl and animal whisperer Doctor Doolittle). The most memorable moment for the cast was the performance by Freerange the Chicken who they described as “random chicken”.

Elissa Brett QPACAfter the puppet show, Elissa and I wandered around with Troggg and Flossy to meet the various cast and company members and pose for photos and selfies with them. It was an unforgettable afternoon enjoyed by all.

 

Larrikin Puppets perform at QPAC for My Fair Lady CastSaid Mr. Don Winsor in an email later that night, “GREAT job today. It was just what the doctor ordered and the company can’t stop laughing… particularly about the chicken, for no reason I can point to. Thanks for doing a bang up job!”

Big thanks to My Fair Lady Australia for choosing us, and chookas for the rest of the tour!

Brett Hansen

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

 

 

 

Larrikin Puppets in The Bribie Islander

Larrikin Puppets in The Bribie Islander:

Towards the end of our stay in New York, Elissa and I decided to base ourselves on Bribie Island upon our return to Australia. I wrote a post on a Bribie Island community Facebook page about our decision, and was approached via that page by a journalist in The Bribie Islander who was interested in writing a story about Larrikin Puppets and the puppet adventures we had in the USA. This is the article that was printed in the September 2016 edition of The Bribie Islander – Issue 26. Click on the article below to zoom in and read it:

The Bribie Islander - Bribie Island - Larrikin Puppets

Working as a journalist for a community paper has proven to be a wide and varied creative experience! It’s rare to have an interview with a puppeteer! Rare and magical, it immediately brings out the child in you! Brett Hansen gave us a demonstration of his incredible gifts as we watched in awe and fascination! Brett has just returned to the island from New York and was gracious enough to share his experiences with us.

Brett attended the ‘Beyond the Sock Workshop’ featuring puppetry teachers: Marty Robinson (a Jim Henson puppeteer famous for performing Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street), Pasha Romanowski (puppet builder who made the characters on popular New Zealand show, The Moe Show), and Noel MacNeal (a Jim Henson puppeteer famous for performing the lead character on Bear in the Big Blue House). He held a solo puppet show at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn – an annual festival in New York celebrating all kinds of puppetry. “I had a really big crowd on the day”. His main character Troggg (that’s Troggg with three Gs, the middle G is silent) – is pictured here posing with New York puppet troupe ‘Team Lopez’. “We attended so many night time puppet shows for adults and the theatres were packed! It’s part of the culture over there that puppets are not just for children. Grown adults flock to see these shows”. Team Lopez performs ‘improv’ comedy (known in Australia as ‘impro’ or ‘theatresports’). While we were based in New York for most of the three months, we did spend a week in Los Angeles and a week in Texas. The Beyond the Sock workshop was held at the University of North Texas. And in Los Angeles, I spent some time with some Jim Henson puppeteers over there – Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko.

Brett’s business Larrikin Puppets is available for bookings locally. He is available to perform puppet shows for birthday parties, childcare centres, libraries, fetes and festivals, seniors clubs and nursing homes, and primary and high schools. Schools are also able to book him for Puppetry Workshops. He is also available to perform as a Puppet M.C. for wedding receptions, film festivals, product launches, talent nights, gala dinners and media launches. So if you want your event to stand out from the crowd, you can contact Brett for bookings.

Article by Kellyanne O’Hare in The Bribie Islander. Issue 26, September 2016.

The Bribie Islander website – https://issuu.com/thebribieislander

The Bribie Islander Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/thebribieislander/

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Puppetry Arts Festival of BrooklynOn Saturday, June 25 2016, Troggg and friends performed for the people of New York at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn. A full festival dedicated to all styles of puppetry.

As you can see from the photo, we had a nice big crowd of families enjoying the show, and interacting with the puppets during the jokes, games and songs.

Frizzby and Flossy discussed the difference between Australian and American English:

And Troggg argued with the crowd about what kind of animal this is:

Troggg and I also hung out with puppeteer Tau Bennett (from the film, “Being Elmo”) and Moses, who performs a character called ‘Fuzzy Beard’:

In addition to the Larrikin Puppets show, Troggg also joined in as part of the Fuzzy Beard Show:

And I also performed my new chicken puppet (made at the ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppet workshop) during this awesome rap song from the Fuzzy Beard Show:

Good times had by all at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn!

New York is a great place for puppeteers to mingle, meet, train and perform with other likeminded people.

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Brett

 

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.30.13 PM

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

 

3 Days of Fun with NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsFor three days in a row, Troggg, Brett and Elissa immersed themselves in New York’s puppet culture. In NYC puppets are all the rage! From professional film and TV puppeteers to small businesses to hobbyists – everybody loves puppets!

NYC PuppetsOn Friday night, (20 May, 2016) we went to see “Team Lopez” – a puppet improv troupe – at Broadway Comedy Club in the theater district. They were part of a big night of improv comedy called “Pre Game Happy Hour Improv Comedy”. After the show, Troggg got a photo with the puppets, then we all went out for drinks.

NYC PuppetsOn Saturday morning (21 May, 2016) we attended “Morning with The Muppets” as part of the Vulture Festival at Milk Studios in Chelsea. We got to see a panel discussion starring Muppet performers Steve Whitmire (Kermit, Ernie, Wembley Fraggle, Rizzo, etc), Eric Jacobson (Fozzie, Piggy, Bert, Grover) and Peter Linz (Walter from the recent Muppets films), and of course the superstars themselves Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Animal.

NYC PuppetsBrett asked a question of Steve Whitmire during the Q&A session about the difference in atmosphere between working with the original team of puppeteers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, etc) and the team of the last 25 years (incl. Matt Vogel, David Rudman, Peter Linz, Eric Jacobson, etc). He gave an amazing, heartfelt answer reflecting on the magic of being surrounded by those amazing people in the early days. NYC Puppets

Afterwards, Steve had a quick little examination of Troggg, and mentioned that they will be visiting Australia in a few months! He was whisked away before we could find out where and why. Maybe a Supanova or Oz Comic Con?

NYC PuppetsBrett and Troggg also got to meet a few fellow puppeteers and Muppet enthusiasts, including Zach Woliner (with Wally Wackiman) and Sam (with Mo Monster from web series The Mo Show). NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsOn Sunday (22 May, 2016) we went to Kaufman Astoria Studios, where Sesame Street is filmed! Yes – Troggg found his way to Sesame Street! Sadly the Sesame Street Muppets are all on Summer vacation. But the studio lot was open for a street fair. So Troggg spent time entertaining the families and posing for photos.

NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsNext door to the Kaufman Astoria Studio is the Museum of the Moving Image, where Craig Shemin (President of the Jim Henson Legacy) and Karen Falk (the Head Archivist of the Jim Henson Company) hosted a special compilation screening of some old and rare films by Jim Henson from the 1950s and 60s that had been restored. The event was called, “Henson in High Definition: The Early Years”. Troggg of course attended and met some new friends. While we waited for the presentation to start, a small crew from a New York marketing company asked if Troggg could appear in a quick video for them. NYC Puppets

After the screening, Brett and Troggg met up with John Papovitch and Milo J. Monster-Smith in the foyer. Many people posed for photos with the two monsters. Brett also spoke briefly with another Henson puppeteer, Noel MacNeal, who will be one of his teachers at the upcoming ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppetry workshop in Texas. Noel is most famous for performing Bear in “Bear in the Big Blue House”.

Squad Photo

NYC Puppets

A great weekend of puppets and Muppet fun in New York City!

NYC Puppets

 

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!

Troggg Visits Adelaide

Troggg’s in Adelaide at the moment to visit Shannon at ‘The Puppet Workshop‘. She made his friends Flossy and the Singing Cheesecake. Troggg is also looking to have a ‘stunt double’ of himself made. Here’s a video from this morning (April 4, 2016) in the city:

And here’s a photo of Troggg and Brett meeting with Shannon Cooke, owner of ‘The Puppet Workshop’ in Adelaide:

Shannon, Troggg, Brett - The Puppet Workshop

Larrikin Puppets is proud to be a repeat customer of The Puppet Workshop, and would recommend Shannon to anybody wanting professional custom puppets built for them.

 

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.