We perform puppetry at a lot of events with cakes. As you can imagine, birthday cakes are the main attraction at the birthday parties we visit. But we see cakes at Christmas functions, special events where Troggg is the puppet MC, childcare centre celebrations and various other occasions.
Whenever Troggg or one of his puppet friends has made it onto a cake, it’s always very amazing to us. We’re not a corporate empire like Disney. Larrikin Puppets is a small business, and people have made cakes featuring our characters! How cool!
Here are four occasions where this has happened:
1. Troggg cake (2017). Melanie’s 3rd birthday party in Kallangur. Melanie’s mum Andrea has a friend called Katie who made this very detailed cake of Troggg’s face! Look at the fur and hair! Troggg loves cakes! This one was like he was looking into a mirror! 2. Troggg cake (2014). Injune Under 8’s Day. They don’t get much in the way of puppet shows in the outback town of Injune (an hour out of Roma). They made a Troggg cake to celebrate! It’s not often you travel long distances to find that they’ve made cakes with your characters on them! There he is waving at us! This was a wonderful surprise.
3. Monster puppet cupcakes (2014). Brett’s wife Elissa made these cute little cakes for their first Valentine’s Day together. They’d only been dating for a few months at the time. The two middle faces are our friends Troggg and Flossy.
4. Monster puppet cake (2012). Brett’s friend Kate Rohde from ImproMafia is a bit of an expert at making cakes. She enters cakes into the Ekka cake contest every year! Back in 2012, Kate made this cake featuring Frizzby and the other (unnamed) blue monster. Brett played piano at the weekly ImproMafia comedy shows, and this cake was in celebration of Brett’s acceptance into the cast of ‘Avenue Q’ that year.
So there you have it. It’s only happened four times, but they were four very heartwarming times. Perhaps you’d like to consider making cakes of Troggg and the gang. We’d like to see a Flossy cake or a Frazzamatazzz cake! Go on! Here they are below for reference!
Support Larrikin Puppets entry into 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by liking our video
Larrikin Puppets wants to bring play to workforces with Puppets At Work, our new corporate arm. To help make this happen, please support our entry into the 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by LIKING our video entry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The more likes and shares the post gets, the more chance we have to win a $10,000 grant to help us fund and launch the project! Competition ends on May 15, 2017.
Caboolture 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).
Scroll down and look for ‘Best Party Entertainment’. Then scroll down the drop-down menu to find Larrikin Puppets. You may vote in the other categories too for entertainers or classes or activities that you also like. But for the Best Party Entertainment category, please do us a huge favour and give us your vote.
Voting closes on Friday 17th March 2017 at 6pm EST.
The 2017 Di Bella Coffee What’s On 4 Kids Awards reward, recognise and celebrate the very best in children’s activities, classes, clubs, volunteers, family days out and kids’ party entertainers across Australia. #whatson4kidsawards
The full list of What’s On 4 Kids Awards nominated entertainers in the Best Party Entertainer category are:
Balloon Artistry by Aaron Smyth
Cleo the Clown
Easy Breezy Parties
Emabella Rose Face Painting
Ever After Parties
Face Painting By Starface
Fly By Fun
Funtime Kids Parties
Glass Slipper Entertainment
Happily Ever Laughter Children’s Entertainment
Jack Sharp Magic
Jelly Tots Perth
Kids Disco Parties
Kids Entertainment Sydney
Kids Love to Cook
Laser Warriors Mobile Laser Tag
Lil Busy Bodies (Anita Nichols)
Lilly’s Body Art
Little Builders Entertainment
Parties Kids Remember
Strawberry Fundaes Kids Parties
String of Beads Parties
Super Hero Parties – Super Steph
Unreal Kids Parties
Voting in the What’s On 4 Kids Awards closes on Friday 17th March 2017 at 6pm EST.
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:
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.
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:
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.
On Monday 12th of October 2015, Brett Hansen, Elissa Jenkins and Troggg flew down to Melbourne to attend the Small Business Development Conference 2015 Gala Dinner for presentation of the National NEIS Association Awards. The Awards Dinner was held in the Limelight Room at Etihad Stadium in Docklands, Melbourne.
Brett had been nominated for the BizCover NEIS Change Award by his NEIS business mentor Sandra Gartner. Larrikin Puppets was set up under the NEIS programme in 2012. To explain what NEIS is, here’s a description from the National College of Business Management website:
“NEIS is an Australian Government initiative to assist eligible job seekers who are interested in starting and running a small business. NEIS commenced in 1985 and is currently the longest running and most successful self employment program in the country.
NEIS can provide you with accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring, as well as ongoing income support for up to 39 weeks”.
Why Larrikin Puppets was nominated in the ‘Change’ award category, is best explained by Brett Hansen himself, in this story he wrote prior to winning the award on the night:
My Story: I have been a creative person since the first time I picked up a crayon. I have always drawn, played piano and performed puppetry. These have always been my greatest talents. I was pretty terrible at most other things at school.
Fast forward to my adult life – After years of studying animation, fine art and film, nobody would hire me in those industries. I was a hobby cartoonist and keyboard player in several bands, but the only paid jobs I could ever get were janitor, dish washer, retail worker, storeman, and call centre phone monkey. I eventually studied business and office admin so that I could get better jobs. But I still couldn’t get into anything better than the above list of occupations. I was never able to earn much money. These are minimum wage jobs.
My wife was very unhappy about both the money side of things, and the fact that I was depressed, miserable, and aching from all the heavy lifting. I’d sometimes work up to 15 hours a day and still not have enough money to pay the bills, let alone take my wife out for a nice dinner.
Performing puppetry was one of my talents, and eventually an opportunity to perform in a local production of Broadway puppet musical Avenue Q came up. I auditioned and was accepted into the company as the show’s ‘puppetry consultant’, as I was the only one with the skills to train the other actors in puppetry. I was also cast as a co-puppeteer for two of the characters. This was a volunteer activity. No payment. But it was a wonderful experience, which I balanced with my full time day job.
Six months later, Avenue Q ended. My full time day job ended. And my marriage ended. All at once. I was at rock bottom, with nothing to my name but whatever savings I had left, and a few puppets.
I had wanted to start up a puppeteer business on the side for a while. But time around long work hours was difficult. Now I finally had an opportunity! I had NOTHING to lose.
Someone suggested that when I go to Centrelink, I ask about the NEIS programme (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme), which is an entrepreneurial alternative to filling out job diaries. If you are unemployed and have a great idea for a new small business, NEIS is fantastic! They put you through a Certificate IV in Small Business Management, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations. Then they team you up with a business mentor for one year. Your assignments throughout the course are literally the things you need to get your business started – All the necessary licences, insurances, marketing tools, etc.
Three years later, my business takes me all over Queensland performing regular puppet shows at parties, festivals, childcare centres, schools and ticketed theatre events. I’ve also been able to puppeteer in several film and TV projects. I met and married a wonderful woman who loves me for all of my quirks and creative madness. She shares my journey as we live and work happily from home together.
And tomorrow, we’re off to Melbourne to attend the National NEIS Association Awards Gala Dinner. My NEIS mentor nominated Larrikin Puppets in the ‘BizCover NEIS Change Award’ category, and now I’m a finalist in the top 3!
My life went through some huge changes at the time I started my business three years ago. That’s why I’m up for a “Change” award. But whether I win the award or not, my life is better than it ever was before three years ago because every day is now different, interesting, exciting and full of love and support.
And that’s what motivates me to get up everyday and run my own business.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Brett (and Troggg) won the BizCover NEIS Change Award on Monday, 12 October 2015 at the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne.