Cakes Featuring Troggg and his Larrikin Puppets Friends

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!

 

 

 

 

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


2017 What’s On 4 Kids Awards & Conference

On Saturday, 10 June 2017, Elissa and I had a lovely time with our children’s entertainment and activity provider industry peers at the 2017 National What’s On 4 Kids Conference and Awards.

The guest speakers at the conference taught us a lot about our industry and all the different ways we can share our services with parents and teachers.

We even got to meet TV stars Tina Harris and Mark Harris from Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band – as seen nationally on ABC Kids, Channel Seven and Nick Jr.

The awards night was a fun gala dinner where we recognised all the entertainers and activity providers around Australia who are doing great things for kids.

We were a finalist in the ‘Best Party Entertainment’ category.

Best Children’s Party Entertainment (Party Planners and Entertainers, Clowns etc) sponsored by Lah Lah’s Big Live Band

Winner – Kids Disco Parties

  • Happily Ever Laughter Children’s Entertainment
  • Larrikin Puppets
  • Strawberry Fundaes Kids Parties
  • Superstar Parties
  • SuperSteph’s Super Party Heroes
  • Unreal Kids Parties

To be a finalist is a big deal in itself! And while other categories all had five finalists, ours had seven! A huge congratulations to the winning finalist Kids Disco Parties. They provide kids around Melbourne with awesome dance parties at schools and birthday events each week!

We brought Troggg and Flossy along to bring lots of smiles and laughter to everybody in attendance at both the conference and the awards, and received a lot of very nice compliments, and posed in a lot of photos and selfies with everybody.

It was a very fun weekend at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane.

Brett 🙂

 

 

 

2017 Queensland Small Business Week

Support Larrikin Puppets entry into 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by liking our video

Puppets at Work_smallerLarrikin 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.

The direct link to the video on Facebook (where you can “like” and “share” it) is: https://www.facebook.com/LarrikinPuppets/videos/901302536675069/

If you’re on Twitter, the direct link to “like” and “retweet” is: https://twitter.com/LarrikinPuppets/status/862653090897448960

If you’re on Instagram, the direct link to “like” it there is: https://www.instagram.com/p/BT88ssIhDuC/

Thank you for your support!

Brett and Elissa

Big thanks to Business Queensland!

#QLDsmallbiz #Time2thriveQLD

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

 

 

 

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!

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