Frazzamatazz in Townsville, Airlie Beach and Springbrook

Brett and Elissa recently took two weeks off for a “reef to rainforest” holiday.

They visited family up in Townsville before exploring the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef (including snorkelling at Hook Island, swimming at Whitehaven Beach and cocktails on Hamilton Island).

Then they went down south to the Gold Coast hinterland, into the mountains of Springbrook for a relaxing week at “The Mouses House” rainforest retreat.

This was supposed to be a break from puppetry. But that didn’t stop Frazzamatazz from stowing away in Brett and Elissa’s luggage and tagging along.

Here he is at The Strand in Townsville:

And then he came up to the lookout on Castle Hill to see Townsville from above:

Frazzamatazz had a great time at Sunday lunch with Elissa’s extended Townsville family.

Just when Brett and Elissa thought they had a moment to themselves for the drive from Townsville to Airlie Beach, Frazzamatazz made another appearance at Home Hill, where he gave a special shout out to Elissa’s mother:

Not many people know this, but Frazzamatazz is very fond of watermelons. So you can imagine how delighted he was to find a gigantic slice of watermelon at a roadside fruit stand in Bowen. Of course he climbed inside:

In Airlie Beach, Frazzamatazz made friends with some of the cruise ship passengers who were stopping by for the day:

In Springbrook, Frazz made friends with a scrub turkey in the rainforest…

… who then ran away.

All up it was a lovely holiday for Brett and Elissa. And you know what? Why take a break from puppets? Turns out Frazzamatazz was actually great company during the break.

Upon their return, they performed a puppet show at the Kawana Waters Hotel in Buddina on the Sunshine Coast.

 

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

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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

 

New York and Los Angeles Puppet Adventures

Fuzzy Beard01At the end of our fourth week in New York City, Brett (and Troggg) spent a day with Musa Moses Bradley, who is the puppeteer for a character called Fuzzy Beard. We went out on the Staten Island ferry and filmed an episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show”, with special guest Troggg!

Fuzzy Beard2

Troggg HollywoodThe next day, we flew six hours to Los Angeles where we stayed just off Hollywood Boulevard for a week. Troggg found Kermit the Frog’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

We also went to see The Jim Henson Company, where the famous Kermit the Frog statue stands at the front gate. He’s dressed like Charlie Chaplin. Why? Troggg explains why in the video below:

Jim Henson Company 3

Jim Henson Company 2

Jim Henson Company 1

Then we got to meet up with two Henson puppeteers, Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko in Burbank, California. Troggg met some puppet friends – Uncle Interloper (performed by Grant Baciocco), Toiley T. Paper (also performed by Grant Baciocco), and the stars of web series “The Ultimate Nerd-ament”, Stanley (Grant Baciocco) and JAX (Russ Walko). We had the honour and pleasure of visiting Grant’s office and Russ’ workshop (known as ‘The Puppet Garage’). Russ Walko built a bunch of Muppets for the recent TV series “The Muppets”, and also built puppet characters for an episode of “Community” and an episode of “The Simpsons” that featured puppets. One of the puppet monsters in Russ’ workshop looks like Troggg’s long lost brother! Have a look:

Grant 1Grant 2Troggg with Toiley T. Paper

Grant and Russ 1

Grant and Russ 2

Troggg got to chat with Toiley T. Paper after a successful run of comedy puppet shows at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He’s also about to perform at the Hollywood Fringe Festival:

And then Troggg had a casual discussion with Stanley and JAX about air travel:

So it’s been another fun and busy week of puppet adventures with Troggg!

We’re now in Denton, North Texas – about to start lessons at the big “Beyond the Sock” film & TV puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas. The teachers are a couple more Henson puppeteers – Marty Robinson (Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street), Noel MacNeil (Bear, from Bear in the Big Blue House), and Pasha Romanowski (builder of puppet characters from New Zealand’s “The Moe Show”) .

We’ll leave you with Troggg’s guest starring episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show” filmed in New York City:

 

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!