The Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough

Brett and Elissa spent the weekend in Maryborough, which is a country town located on the Mary River in Queensland, Australia, approximately 255 kilometres north of Brisbane. It’s part of the Fraser Coast.

Maryborough is the birthplace of author P.L. Travers (1899 – 1996), which was the pen name of Helen Lyndon. She went on to write the Mary Poppins series of books (there were 8 in total). After much interest in the character, and persistence from Walt Disney, a film was made about Mary Poppins, which is a much loved classic.

Every year, the town of Maryborough celebrates the art of storytelling and performance at The Mary Poppins Festival, and Larrikin Puppets were invited to present puppet shows and puppetry performance workshops at the 2017 event.

The puppetry presentations were held in the Maryborough Excelsior City Band Hall all day on Saturday, 1 July 2017. Troggg’s face was even drawn in chalk on a sign out the front!

Puppet show audiences were treated to the zany antics of Troggg, Flossy, Moss, Frizzby, Frazzamatazz, the Cheesecake, Freerange the Chicken and their animal friends with a Mary Poppins twist. Workshop participants enjoyed a hands on (or hands “in”) lesson on some of the techniques behind the workings of Muppet-style hand puppets, which included a Mary Poppins themed, choreographed, lip sync and dance along with all the puppets!

One of the lovely workshop participants was puppet builder and performer Alison Crane from Maryborough’s own Aunty Alison’s Puppets! Check out her Facebook page and website.

 

 

Troggg had a really nice day at the Mary Poppins Festival, and particularly liked the vintage cars driving around at the event.

 

 

 

School Holidays with Larrikin Puppets

If you’d like to take the kids along to see a puppet show these school holidays, here’s where to find Larrikin Puppets:


Saturday 24 June: The Woodford Show
Woodford Showgrounds
38 Neurum Road, Woodford
Puppet Shows at 9:30am and 11:15am


Sunday 25 June: Vibe Markets
Bribie Island Community Art Centre
191 Sunderland Drive, Banksia Beach
Puppet Show + Mini Puppetry Workshop at 10:00am


Monday 26 June: Burpengary Library
101 Station Road, Burpengary
Puppet Show at 10:00am


Monday 26 June: Deception Bay Library
9 Bayview Terrace, Deception Bay
Puppet Show at 2:30pm


Tuesday 27 June: Woodford Library
1 Elizabeth Street, Woodford
Puppet Show at 10:00am

 


Tuesday 27 June: Bribie Island Library
1 Welsby Parade, Bongaree
Puppet Show at 2:30pm


Wednesday 28 June: Logan Hyperdome Library
66 Mandew Street, Shailer Park
Puppet Show at 11:00am


Saturday 1 July: Mary Poppins Festival – Day In The Park
Excelsior Band Hall
Macalister St, Maryborough
Puppet Shows at 10:30am and 1:00pm
Puppetry Workshops at 11:30am and 2:00pm


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. 

 

 

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

Troggg in New York

New YorkOnly 24 hours after landing in New York, it was time for Brett, Elissa, Troggg and Frazzamatazz to visit ‘The Puppet Kitchen‘ in Manhattan! They’re a puppet construction workshop, as well as a training facility in the art of Henson-style TV puppetry using cameras and monitors. New York It was ‘Monitor Night’ on Tuesday. So Troggg and Frazzamatazz got to jam alongside various other visiting and in-house puppet characters. The instructor was Michael Shupbach (Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, Johnny and The Sprites, Little Shop of Horrors, Avenue Q puppet construction) who was very informative and fun! He’s one of the co-founders of The Puppet Kitchen.

New York

New York New YorkLots of other New York-based puppeteers and puppetry enthusiasts were part of the session too, including Erin Finnegan, Arlee Chadwick, Gillian “Gus” Andrews, Ivy Cohen, Bobby Dagger and his son Jude. All an absolute delight to practice and perform with! We felt very warm and welcome in the company of these amazing like-minded people.

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

The New York adventures don’t stop there either. Lots more networking, some puppet shows at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn, a trip to Hollywood and a week in North Texas for the ‘Beyond the Sock’ Puppetry Workshop with Muppeteers Peter Linz and Noel MacNeal. There’s even been some talk of me performing some puppetry in an upcoming film project here in New York too, so hopefully we have some more developments on that in the near future.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Brett Hansen

New York

Beyond the Sock Puppetry Workshop in Texas, USA

As part of his professional development overseas, Larrikin Puppets’ own Brett Hansen is enrolled in Beyond the Sock Puppetry for Television and Film Workshop 2016 at the University of North Texas. The instructors are Peter Linz (The Muppets, Sesame Street), Noel MacNeal (Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame Street), and Pasha Romanowski (The Moe Show). Brett and Elissa head to the USA in May 2016.

Still plenty of time to book a puppet show for your party or event in Brisbane before then via www.larrikinpuppets.com.au

beyond-the-sock-logo

Weekend Intensive Puppetry Workshop for Adults – with Larrikin Puppets (November 2015)

Puppet Workshop002Larrikin Puppets presents a two day Weekend Intensive puppetry workshop in #‎Brisbane‬  (Moorooka/Salisbury).

 

ADULTS can learn how to puppeteer in the Muppet style of puppetry!

 

7-8 November. Build confidence, improve communication skills, make people laugh, expand your drama/theatre portfolio, learn a new skill and have fun!

Learn the basic techniques that bring Muppet-style puppet characters to life in an interactive workshop led by Brett Hansen.

Larrikin Puppets is running beginner workshop programs for children and adults. No previous puppetry experience needed. Students will get a chance to practice puppetry techniques using real puppets.

For more info or to book, visit the link below.

Why learn puppetry?

– Build confidence
– Improve communication
– Make people laugh
– Learn the skill behind the magic of Sesame Street and The Muppets
– Expand your drama/theatre portfolio
– Have fun!

NOVEMBER 2015
Weekend Intensive Workshop:
Beginner Puppetry for Adults, Day 1 – Saturday 7th of Nov: 1:30pm – 6:30pm.
Beginner Puppetry for Adults, Day 2 – Sunday 8th of Nov: 9:30am – 4:30pm.
Book here: http://www.larrikinpuppets.com.au/puppeteer-workshop-adults/

Brett is a professional puppeteer with Larrikin Puppets.

He was ‘puppetry consultant’ for both the 2012 and 2014 Brisbane Arts Theatre productions of Broadway’s “Avenue Q”.

Brett also trained a cast of nine improvisational theatre performers in puppetry for the Larrikin Puppets and Edge Improv co-production, “Thank Troggg You’re Here: A Puppet Impro Spectacular!”

Brett was puppet trainer on the set of “Cluck: The Web Series” as well.

School Holiday Puppetry Workshop for Kids (Two Days) – with Larrikin Puppets (October 2015)

Puppet Workshop002Larrikin Puppets presents a two day School Holiday puppetry workshop in #‎Brisbane‬ (Moorooka/Salisbury).

KIDS can learn how to puppeteer in the Muppet style of puppetry!

1-2 October. Build confidence, improve communication skills, make people laugh, learn a new skill and have fun!

 

Learn the basic techniques that bring Muppet-style puppet characters to life in an interactive workshop led by Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins.

Larrikin Puppets is running beginner workshop programs for children. No previous puppetry experience needed. Students will get a chance to practice puppetry techniques using real puppets.

For more info or to book, visit the link below.

Why learn puppetry?

– Build confidence
– Improve communication
– Make people laugh
– Learn the skill behind the magic of Sesame Street and The Muppets
– Expand your drama/theatre portfolio
– Have fun!

OCTOBER 2015
School Holiday Two Day Workshop:
Beginner Puppetry for Kids, Day 1 – Thursday 1st of Oct: 10am – 4pm.
Beginner Puppetry for Kids, Day 2 – Friday 2nd of Oct: 10am – 4pm.
Book here: http://www.larrikinpuppets.com.au/puppeteer-workshop-kids/

Brett is a professional puppeteer with Larrikin Puppets.

He was ‘puppetry consultant’ for both the 2012 and 2014 Brisbane Arts Theatre productions of Broadway’s “Avenue Q”.

Brett also trained a cast of nine improvisational theatre performers in puppetry for the Larrikin Puppets and Edge Improv co-production, “Thank Troggg You’re Here: A Puppet Impro Spectacular!”

Brett was puppet trainer on the set of “Cluck: The Web Series” as well.