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

 

 

 

2016 Recap – A puppet filled year

larrkin puppets.jpg– 2016 started with a series of school holiday and vacation care puppet show performances.

– The Richard Bell film I performed puppetry in (“5 for 35”) screened all Summer at GOMA as part of the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8).

 

5 for 35 Richard Bell

– I provided puppetry training (and puppets) for ImproMafia’s “Not 4 Kidz” at the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

– A new puppet character, Frazzamatazz, joined the Larrikin Puppets cast in February.

– I began sewing lessons in preparation for the puppet building component of the upcoming intensive puppetry course I was enrolled in at the University of North Texas.

Interstate International Touring– I performed MC duties (hidden under a table – Troggg was the MC!) at the official Ipswich Festival media launch. Troggg got to introduce Mayor Paul Pisasale to the stage. I also performed puppet shows at the actual Ipswich Festival, and was informed by several friends in the lead up that they noticed big roadside billboards with Troggg on them!

 

 

Beyond the Sock Frazzamatazz on set

– I also performed puppet shows at the Paradise Resort in Surfers Paradise, the Redcliffe Sails Festival, a Bunnings store in Warwick, an Indian restaurant, a nursing home and several childcare centres, schools and birthday parties.

Brisbane Comedy Festival

– Elissa helped me run some puppetry workshops at a few schools, including a full week (three workshops a day) at Belmont State School.

 

 

 

Shannon, Troggg, Brett - The Puppet Workshop– We went down to Adelaide to visit Shannon Cooke at The Puppet Workshop.

– We lived in Brooklyn, New York for three months. We saw lots of live theatre in NYC – including many puppet shows for adults, improv comedy and “Avenue Q” off Broadway (with a backstage tour thanks to puppeteer contacts).

Kaufman1

– Much of my time overseas was spent networking with other puppeteers, which included frequent visits to The Puppet Kitchen for monitor puppetry sessions run by the awesome Michael Schupbach. Between there, several puppet shows/events and a few Muppet screenings at the Museum of the Moving Image it was really great to meet, perform and practice with so many great NYC puppeteers and fellow Muppet fans – including Marcelo Bottaro, Arlee Chadwick, Musa ‘Fuzzy Beard’ Bradley, David Bizzaro, Zach ‘Wackiman’ Woliner, Nicola ‘Callie & Izzy’ McEldowney, John Papovitch, Kevin Hale, Tau ‘Being Elmo’ Bennett, Christina Rodriguez Stone, Matthew Soberman, Sam ‘Mo Monster’, Tania Lopez, Tim Young, Erin Finnegan, Spencer Cohen, and so many more amazing people!

MoWallyTroggg– I performed my full puppet show at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn (yes, I transported my whole puppet stage and all the puppets to America).

– Troggg guest starred in an episode of The Fuzzy Beard Show.

– We attended a convention called “Morning with the Muppets” starring Steve Whitmire (with Kermit the Frog), Eric Jacobson (with Fozzie Bear and Animal) and Peter Linz (assisting). I asked a couple of questions during the Q&A, and was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Steve Whitmire afterwards. He fluffed up Troggg’s fur as he spoke to me about a trip to Australia they were taking soon.

Fuzzy Beard01– We spent a week in Los Angeles, staying just off Hollywood Boulevard. We walked to the Jim Henson Company and checked out the big Kermit statue out the front.

– We spent a day with Henson puppeteers Grant Baciocco (whom I’d met in Brisbane a couple of years earlier during “Puppet Up!” and stayed in contact with) and Russ Walko. Troggg of course came out on all of these puppet-related excursions in both New York and Los Angeles.

Jim Henson Company 1– We spent a week in Denton, North Texas where, at the University of North Texas, I received advanced, intensive, life changing training in film & TV monitor puppetry from Henson puppeteers Marty Robinson (Telly Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus) and Noel MacNeal (Bear in the Big Blue House), and a puppet construction component lead by Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Elissa came with me to all the casual nights of drinking and chatting with the puppeteers. She also attended the special performance night we did on the final day. The whole thing was an unforgettable experience. This kind of training simply doesn’t exist in Australia. I was so happy to not only get some of my existing skills validated, but also to learn so many valuable new skills, and better ways to perform my craft from the best in the business – my heroes!

Grant and Russ 1– Since returning to Australia, I performed both puppet characters in a short comedy film called “Kev”, plus shows at schools, childcare centres, festivals and parties every week!

 

 

Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, Noel MacNeal– There were more shows at the Gold Coast’s Paradise Resort, and even a few shows at New Farm Cinemas, which included some Larrikin Puppets cinema advertising before screenings of “Moana” and “Sing”. I even got to perform my first puppet show at the famous Brisbane Powerhouse!

Larrikin Puppets Deja Voodoo Woodford– And we spent the final week of the year performing three shows a day, every day at one of Australia’s biggest festivals – the Woodford Folk Festival.

It’s been an absolutely huge year! Here’s to more puppet fun in 2017!

Brett Hansen

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/

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.

Puppet News

Puppet Show Street Festival

New Announcements:

Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Fortitude Valley have booked a puppet show for the kids on the 9th of March.

Troggg will be the MC at the official media launch of the 2016 Ipswich Festival in March, where he will be introducing Mayor Paul Pisasale. A month later, we’re performing two puppet shows at the festival.

Larrikin Puppets will be performing a family puppet show at the Chrome Street Fiesta – A free community festival held in the Salisbury Industrial Estate on Saturday, 12 March.

After the success of recent seniors’ puppet shows at two Probus Clubs, Troggg and the gang will be performing at St. Paul’s Villa Hostel, Rainworth in April.

For all gig listings, please visit our Gig Calendar here: http://www.larrikinpuppets.com.au/gig-calendar/

And follow the drop down menus for details on how you can book a puppet show or puppet MC for YOUR event! 🙂

Bribie Island based Larrikin Puppets Perform Almost Everywhere!

Puppet Show Frizzby and FlossyHere’s a list of all the places we’ve performed with puppets so far. 
Acacia Ridge
Albany Creek
Alderley
Alexandra Hills, Redland City
Annerley
Arana Hills
Arundel, Gold Coast
Ashgrove
Astoria, Queens, New York, USA
Balmoral, QLD
Banksia Beach, Bribie Island
Bardon
Beaudesert
Beenleigh, Logan City
Beerwah, Sunshine Coast
Bellara, Bribie Island
Bellbowrie
Belmont
Benowa, Gold Coast
Berserker, QLD
Birkdale, Redland City
Blackbutt, QLD
Bongaree, Bribie Island
Bowen Hills
Bracken Ridge
Bray Park
Bribie Island, QLD
Brighton, QLD
Brisbane Central
Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Buderim, Sunshine Coast
Buddina, Sunshine Coast
Bulimba
Bundaberg, QLD
Bundaberg Central, QLD
Burbank, California, USA
Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast
Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast
Burpengary
Burpengary East
Caboolture
Camira, Ipswich
Camp Hill
Cannon Hill
Carindale
Carrara, Gold Coast
Chermside
Chermside West
Childers, QLD
Clayfield
Cleveland, Redland City
Clontarf
Collingwood Park
Coomera, Gold Coast
Cooroy, Sunshine Coast
Cornubia, Logan City
Currimundi, Sunshine Coast
Currumbin, Gold Coast
Currumbin Waters, Gold Coast
Currumbin South, Gold Coast
Daisy Hill, Logan City
Darra
Dayboro
Deagon
Deception Bay
Denton, North Texas, USA
Docklands, VIC
Dutton Park
Eaglby, Logan City
Eagle Farm
East Brisbane
Eight Mile Plains
Elanora, Gold Coast
Everton Park
Ferny Hills
Flinders View, Ipswich
Forest Lake
Fortitude Valley
Gin Gin, Bundaberg, QLD
Gladstone, QLD
Gold Coast
Goodna, Ipswich
Gordon Park
Gracemere, Rockhampton, QLD
Grange
Greenbank, Logan City
Griffin
Gympie, QLD
Hamilton
Hawthorne
Heathwood
Heritage Park, Logan City
Herston
Holland Park
Hollywell, Gold Coast
Indooroopilly
Injune, SW QLD
Ipswich Central
Jimboomba, Logan City
Kallangur
Kangaroo Point
Kearneys Spring, QLD
Kelvin Grove
Kenmore
Kenmore Hills
Keperra
Kilcoy, QLD
Kingston, QLD
Kuluin, Sunshine Coast
Logan Central
Manhattan, New York, USA
Manly, QLD
Manly West, QLD
Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast
Maryborough, QLD
Meadowbrook, Logan City
Middle Park
Minyama, Sunshine Coast
Moogerah, QLD
Moorooka
Morayfield
Morningside
Mount Morgan, Rockhampton, QLD
Mt. Coot-tha
Mt. Gravatt
Murarrie
Murra Murra, SW QLD
Nerang, Gold Coast
New Farm
Noosaville, Sunshine Coast
Norman Park
North Lakes
Ormeau, Gold Coast
Ormiston, Redland City
Pacific Paradise, Sunshine Coast
Pacific Pines, Gold Coast
Paddington
Pallara
Palm Beach Heights, Gold Coast
Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast
Parkinson
Park Ridge, Logan City
Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Parkwood, Gold Coast
Petrie Terrace
Raby Bay, Redland City
Red Hill
Redbank
Redbank Plains
Redcliffe
Robina, Gold Coast
Rochedale, Logan City
Rochedale South, Logan City
Rockhampton, QLD
Runcorn
Salisbury
Scarborough
Shailer Park, Logan City
Shorncliffe
Silkstone, Ipswich
Sinnamon Park
Sippy Downs, Sunshine Coast
South Bank
South Brisbane
South Rockhampton, QLD
Spring Hill
Stafford
Strathpine
Sunnybank
Sunnybank Hills
Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Taigum
Tarragindi
Tewantin, Sunshine Coast
The Gap
Thornlands, Redland City
Tiaro, QLD
Tingalpa
Toowong
Toowoomba, QLD
Tweed Heads, NSW
Upper Coomera, Gold Coast
Wakerley
Warana, Sunshine Coast
Warwick, QLD
Wavell Heights
Wellington Point, Redland City
West End
Witta, Sunshine Coast
Woodford
Woodridge
Woody Point
Woolloongabba
Woombye, Sunshine Coast
Woorim, Bribie Island
Wynnum
Wynnum West
Yeronga

We’re currently based in Bongaree on Bribie Island, so if anybody lives in the Sandstone Point, Caboolture, Ningi, Morayfield, Beachmere or Bribie Island areas – we can get to your party or event really quickly!

StarNow and LinkedIn

Brett Hansen’s StarNow profile lists details on the various puppetry projects he’s been involved in through Larrikin Puppets, and in theatre, film and TV: http://www.starnow.com.au/LarrikinPuppets

The Larrikin Puppets LinkedIn company profile can be found here. You are most welcome to follow and share these profiles on social media.

 

 

2015 Adventures of the Puppets

Brett with Gary Foley puppet in Richard Bell film project

This year, Larrikin Puppets has continued to grow from strength to strength. In its third year of business, the puppets have appeared at several festivals, more child care centres and schools than ever before, two Supanova Pop Culture Expos, regular shows at South Bank Parklands, a series of family variety shows at Morningside’s Studio Theatre & Cafe, a film appearance in artist Richard Bell’s movie “5 for 35” (currently showing at APT8, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane), a cameo in “The Hobble & Snitch Show”, and even a hosting gig on “Juiced TV” – a TV show filmed at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Troggg even got to meet Agro this year! Troggg with Hobble and Snitch

Troggg with Agro.

Troggg Murra MurraWe also took the puppets along to perform in Childers, Toowoomba, and at the 5th Kooma Green School – a cultural exchange program held in the remote Indigenous community of Murra Murra in South-West Queensland. And Troggg got to accept a trophy at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne when Larrikin Puppets WON the BizCover NEIS Change Award at the National Small Business Development Conference!  NEIS Awards Facebook Cover

 

 

I managed to arrange Brisbane’s only cinema screening of the award winning documentary film, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story” at Event Cinemas (hosted by Troggg of course). We raised $300 towards ovarian cancer research and awareness via Queensland Centre for Gynaecological Cancer in memory of my Mum.

On a personal note, I got married this year! To the beautiful Elissa, who has been the most amazing friend anybody could ever wish for.

Here’s to more puppet fun and adventures in 2016!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

From Brett Hansen 🙂

Juiced TV

4BC interview: ‘I Am Big Bird’ – Raising funds for cancer research

4BC radio interview – ‘I Am Big Bird’ – Raising funds for cancer research

September 2, 2015

Nick King

4BC radio interview

Troggg, Clare Blake and Brett Hansen in the 4BC Studio

 

 

4BC Afternoons would like to introduce you to Brett Hansen and Troggg.

And just to clarify Troggg is the blue one and yes, the middle ‘g’ is silent!

Both Brett and Troggg are from Larrikin Puppets and they dropped by to tell Clare Blake all about an upcoming film screening that will raise money for a very good cause.

The award winning film ‘I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story’ documents the man who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since 1969 and understandably is very close to the hearts of both Brett and Troggg.

The screening aims to not only provide a night of entertainment but also to raise funds for The Queensland Centre for Gynecological Cancer Research.

A worthy cause which has touched Brett on a very personal level.

“My mum passed away in 2010, She had a very short battle with ovarian cancer, she went to the doctors with a sore tummy and by that time it was too late.”

“There isn’t any early detection methods and she had nine months from that diagnosis of ovarian cancer.”

This special screening will be hosted by Troggg (and Brett) and will be dedicated to the memory of Helen Jean Hansen.

                  Larrikin Puppets Presents ‘I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

                                              7pm, Monday 14th September

                                 Event Cinemas, Myer Centre Brisbane City

                      Tickets are pre-purchase only and available by clicking here

Listen to the full interview with Clare Blake on 4BC Afternoons here.

I Am Big Bird: Brisbane’s only Screening!

I Am Big Bird Comes to Brisbane for One Night Only to help with Ovarian Cancer Research and Awareness

I Am Big Bird Brisbane

Larrikin Puppets presents Brisbane’s only screening of the award winning, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story”. This heartwarming film chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who has performed Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.Where: Event Cinemas Myer Centre – Level 3 Myer Centre, 91 Elizabeth St, Brisbane.
When: 7pm, Monday 14 September 2015.

Tickets: $20. Only online at https://www.tugg.com/events/40270. There are currently 71 tickets remaining, and less than two weeks to secure those seats!

Funds being raised for ovarian cancer research and awareness through a raffle prize and 5% of ticket sales. The event is held in loving memory of Helen Jean Hansen (Brett’s Mum), who lost her very short battle with ovarian cancer in 2010. Chosen charity: QLD Centre for Gynaecological Cancer Research.

MC: Troggg (Brisbane’s own ‘Muppet’). He’s honoured to introduce this film about his heroes Big Bird and Oscar. Troggg’s handler (puppeteer Brett Hansen) is the eldest son of Helen.

For over 4 decades, Caroll’s characters have been cherished by generations of children. At 81 years old, the tenacious and enthusiastic performer has no intention of slowing down. I AM BIG BIRD features incredible footage of Spinney’s earliest collaborations with Jim Henson as it traces Caroll’s journey from bullied child to celebrated performer. This loving portrait peels away the instances that inspired his creation of Big Bird and as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the puppet, who will steal your heart.