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.
Larrikin 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.
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The 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.
The 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”.
After 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.
Said 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!
Previously 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!
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.
Troggg 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
Strawberry Fundae Kids Parties
SuperSteph’s Super Party Heroes
Unreal Kids Parties
A 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.
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.
And behold – the grand Puppet Blogs medal of honour – proudly displayed below.
Thank you very much to Anuj Agarwal (Founder of Feedspot), and all of the panelists who painstakingly sorted through thousands of puppet blogs and websites to come up with the top 75.
Brett Hansen Puppet Showreel – Short Version (2 Min, 45 Sec). 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 Puppet Showreel – Long Version (4 Min). While only slightly longer than the short puppet showreel, this version again 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 Hansen and his troupe of friendly and funny puppet characters, along with his wife and business partner Elissa Jenkins provide top quality entertainment and fun for childcare centres, festivals, birthday parties, libraries and all kinds of other events and venues in and around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Gold Coast and the Moreton Bay Region.
To be one of the Top 75 Puppet Blogs means that people are reading all about our adventures. From the suburbs of Brisbane to the Queensland outback, and all the way across the ocean to New York, Los Angeles and Texas where we spent several months in 2016.
Our puppet shows and puppetry workshops are suitable for early childhood and school aged kids too, but there’s plenty of humour for parents, staff and teachers to enjoy too. Our puppet blogs showcase a lot of information about these things. Most of our bookings are 30 minute puppet show of songs, games, jokes, skits and comical interaction with the audience, performed in the puppetry style of The Muppets and Sesame Street.
And on your request, we can even incorporate educational content for our school and childcare shows – such as sharing, kindness, exercise, looking after the environment and healthy eating – Just ask us in your booking enquiry.
In most cases, our puppet shows are followed by an additional presentation lasting about 5 minutes where Brett (and Elissa at some of the larger events) demonstrates to the audience how all the puppets work. Then we do a 5-10 minute meet-and-greet were the kids can get their photo taken with Troggg the blue monster. All up it’s about a 45 minute performance. Some of our bookings have been found via reading our exciting puppet blogs.
For babies and 1-2 year olds, as well as children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) we offer an interactive show, filled with all the colour and musical fun of the regular show, but the puppeteer also emerges from behind the stage throughout the show with various cute and fluffy animal puppets for each child to see up close. We have also performed shows in hospitals for cancer patients, as well as shows in schools for the deaf, where translators perform sign language to explain what Troggg and his furry friends are saying. We try to cover these topics in our puppet blogs too.
On the day of any of our events, puppeteer Brett Hansen (and sometimes Elissa Jenkins too at some of the larger events or puppetry workshops at schools) arrives at the venue about 45 minutes before the puppet show’s starting time to set up the stage, sound equipment, props and puppets. The show (as described above) is performed, or the workshop is conducted to the class – complete with full participation using our 40 odd workshop puppets. The 30 minute puppet shows are followed by the 5 minute “how the puppets work” demonstration, and the 5-10 minute meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with Troggg. The puppeteer then packs up the stage and other equipment.
The puppet blogs here at Larrikin Puppets are all about sharing the good news and keeping everybody informed about all that we do. There are several puppet blogs written about our time living in New York City and all the puppetry events, workshops and performances we took part in, our visit to Los Angeles where we spent some time with a couple of puppeteers there, and the advanced intensive puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas called “Beyond the Sock”. All of this can be seen on our puppet blogs.
Brett and Elissa both have a current Blue Cards, and are fully insured, professional, and punctual. Thank you again for reading our puppet blogs. You may wish to enquire about a puppet show, workshop, puppet MC, or any of our range of puppet related performances we have on offer. Just have a look at the drop down menu items at this website. We will perform at all kinds of events and venues. Puppetry for all occasions.
Beaucare in Beudesert said, “An absolutely fantastic puppet show! The children loved it, lots of laughter and excitement! Brett was very professional in his manner, extremely well organised and engaging with the children. Informative and educational show, the children were delighted to be able to touch the puppets and see how they are manipulated. I recommend Larrikin Puppets, incredible children’s entertainers!”
Sunkids at Burleigh said, “We had Larrikin Puppets attend our childcare centre last week and absolutely loved it! Brett kept all 106 children in the centre amused and laughing their heads off the entire time! They are still talking about the ‘cute’ and ‘crazy’ puppets! What an amazing show! Thanks Brett can’t wait to have you back!!”.
Zrinka said, “Seven of us – six adults and a 5 year old – had a wonderful afternoon multi-person birthday and anniversary party with Larrikin Puppets. I briefed Brett with snippets on each person and he incorporated them into the puppet performance with good humour and great sensitivity! There is no doubt the adults enjoyed the show even more than the children! Larrikin Puppets made our party a big success”.
Yosmery said, “My baby loves puppets so I decided to hire a puppeteer for his first birthday. I found Larrikin Puppets show on the Brisbane Kids website and contacted Brett. He was so approachable and professional from the beginning. The show exceeded my expectations. It was amazing. My son, his friends and everybody had lots of fun. Brett tailored it with my baby’s favourite songs. He even created a new one using my son’s name. Brett is flexible with requests. His show finished with a storytelling of our favourite book. If you want to give a special surprise to your loved ones, you have to contact Brett. This is a smashing show!!!”
Tullawong State School said, “What an amazing, fun, funny, enjoyable show. The children from Prep to year 2 had a blast. Laughing, clapping, cheering (very loudly), the puppets even had the children, teachers and parents dancing:) Everyone had a complete ball while learning all about bullying and healthy eating. Brett and his puppets made our day….”
Monitor 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.
This 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.
Monitor 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.
Brett 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.
But 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’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 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.
There’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.
Kev – The film that our very own puppet star Frizzby starred in (with the help of his handler Brett Hansen) – was shortlisted for Tropfest 25. It didn’t make the finalists, but to be on the shortlist is a great achievement in itself.
Kev (a Griffith Film School student film, written by Branden J Wittchen, directed Luke Angelo-Roberts & Branden J Wittchen, and produced by Emma Giddins) is not for children, as it contains adult themes and course language.
Brett performed the puppetry for two characters in the film – Kev (a bigoted Aussie orange monster played by Frizzby) and a bumbling puppet Police officer who has his priorities all wrong.
Why Not? Films and Griffith Film School presents ‘Kev’. A Luke & Brando Film. The film stars Candice Hill, Ryan Hance and Abhi Mehta, along with Brett Hansen as the puppeteer and voice for both Kev and the Cop.
Fun Fact: Much of the filming of Kev took place at Shaw Road News, a popular community news agent store in Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Writer/Director Branden J Wittchen was a staff member of the store, and was able to secure the permission to use the store after hours as a filming location, and the main setting of the film itself.
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.