Set in an Australian primary school during Book Week, Hijabi Girl: A Musical Puppet Show is a fun, thought-provoking romp featuring 39 spectacular puppets, 7 catchy songs, some intriguing UV puppetry, plenty of audience interaction, and a story that helps us see that all kinds of children can be heroes.
With themes around diversity, identity, anti-bullying and creative problem solving, Hijabi Girl is the live kids show Australia needs right now.
Larrikin Puppets is bringing these children’s voices to life, transforming the written word into a colourful, fun and thought-provoking musical puppet show featuring a professionally pre-recorded English language voice cast of nine children aged 13, with Turkish and Vietnamese language inclusions. These voices form part of a cast of colourful Muppet-style puppet characters rarely experienced live.
With 39 puppets built by some of the best puppet builders across Australia and the world and puppeteered by just two puppeteers – Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins – the production showcases:
- spectacular human puppets, fish puppets, pencil puppets and food puppets;
- some exciting UV blacklight puppetry;
- live, interactive segments;
- audience participation; and
- seven original songs available on Spotify and iTunes to listen to prior to and after the show.
After the performance, Brett and Elissa deliver a fascinating presentation on how the different puppets work; provide the audience an opportunity to ask questions; and offer a backstage, behind-the-scenes tour.
Based on children’s book ‘Hijabi Girl’ by prolific Australian author Hazel Edwards OAM and Turkish-Australian Muslim co-author Ozge Alkan, and illustrated by Serena Geddes (pictured), this in-theatre production is for children, their teachers and their families, to embrace diversity and accept people from different cultures.
With themes around diversity, identity, anti-bullying and creative problem solving that align with Australia’s Intercultural Understanding school curriculum, Hijabi Girl: A Musical Puppet Show is a celebration of multicultural Australia, and a statement about acceptance and coping successfully with being different.
8 year old school-girl Melek who, unable to find a book character in a hijab for her Book Week Parade costume, decides to solve this problem with some awesome help from new girl Tien (who draws fantastic worlds). We also meet classmates Lily (who loves playing princess dress-ups) and rat mad, soccer player Zac (who NEVER agrees with her).
Melek, who wants to start her own Aussie Rules girls’ football team, solves many problems along the way, even rescuing Zac in the pool. But can she stop Zac and Rattus Rattus the rat from ruining the Book Week Parade?
Larrikin Puppets will launch Hijabi Girl at Logan City’s Butterbox Theatre, Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct, 23-24 August 2022. The show plans to tour regional Queensland theatres Winter/Spring 2023-2024 and throughout Australia Winter/Spring 2025-2027.
Larrikin Puppets has released an eclectic album of original, fun, catchy kids songs Hijabi Girl: Our Australian Dream for audiences to enjoy prior to the launch of the live puppet show.
Voice cast (including 9 children aged 13 and under)
- Melek Speaking Voice: Mabel Tamone (prerecorded)
- Melek Singing Voice: Caitlin Trappett (prerecorded)
- Tien: Maddie York (prerecorded)
- Zac: David Hill (prerecorded)
- Lily: Ella Kennedy (prerecorded)
- Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll: Elissa Jenkins (live voice)
- Turkish Kebab: Brett Hansen (live voice)
- Rat: Brett Hansen (live voice)
- Teacher: Elissa Jenkins (live and prerecorded)
- AFL Football: Lily Skelson (prerecorded)
- Vietnamese Language Narrator: Khang Dao (prerecorded)
- Turkish and English Language Narrator: Zaid Seker (prerecorded)
- Tien Vietnamese Language Voice: Amy Tran (prerecorded)
- Pencils: Lily Skelson, David Hill, Elissa Jenkins, Brett Hansen (prerecorded)
- UV Shark Melek
- UV Shark Tien
- UV Tadpole Zac
- UV Tadpole Lily
- Singing Pencils
- AFL Football
- Teacher Glasses
- Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll
- Turkish Kebab
- UV Word Rod Puppet x 11
- UV Fish Puppets x 14
Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins
7 Puppet builders
- Michael Lanzer, Puppet Creation Lab
- Christopher Ragg, Puppet Tribe
- Feriana Tiarnida, Ana Shock Puppets
- Prairie Puppets
- Deb Bowen-Saunders
- Katherine Hannaford
- Glen Perks, Top Of The Stairs Puppets
Program a performance
Hijabi Girl: A Musical Puppet Show has been created for theatres as a touring puppet show:
- for children 9 and under and their families.
- for early primary age school students in Grades Year 4 and under.
While under 5s are welcome to attend with their families, it is not a performance for childcare audiences.
Presenters are invited to program Hijabi Girl: A Musical Puppet Show at their local theatre or school for their local or school audiences from April 2022 and beyond. Brisbane and regional theatres can book direct with Larrikin Puppets.
Alignment to Australian School Curriculum
- Learning areas – The Arts – Years 3 and 4 AND Foundation to Year 2. Covers developing understanding of practices, and responding to and interpreting artworks. Provides opportunity to practice responding to an artwork from the viewpoint of an audience. Covers 3 of the 5 Learning Areas: Drama, Music and Visual Arts.
- Learning areas – Design & Technology – Foundation to Year 2. Provides opportunity to see puppets in action, with a view to designing and making a simple puppet; expressing likes and dislikes; understanding how force and movement is created using materials.
- Learning areas – Language – Years 3 and 4 AND Foundation to Year 2. Experience Vietnamese language and Turkish language in a culturally relevant, Australian context.
- General capabilities – Intercultural Understanding – Years 3 and 4 AND Foundation to Year 2. Opportunity to engage in this curriculum’s organising element of recognising culture and developing respect; interacting and empathising with others; and reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility. In developing and acting with intercultural understanding, students can investigate culture and cultural identity; explore and compare cultural knowledge, beliefs and practices; develop respect for cultural diversity; communicate across cultures; consider and develop multiple perspectives; empathise with others; reflect on intercultural experiences; and challenge stereotypes and prejudices.
Book a theatre performance
$2500 per show. You set the ticket price according to your theatre size. Bulk discounts available for multiple shows in the same location. Great for school excursions! Enquiries welcome from theatres located in South-East Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Regional Queensland. Black-out theatres with quality sound and lighting systems will provide best audience experience. Brisbane and regional theatres can book direct with Larrikin Puppets.
Book a school performance
$2500 per show. Discount for multiple shows in the same location. Enquiries welcome from schools located in South-East Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Regional Queensland. Black-out theatres with quality sound and lighting systems will provide the best audience experience. Brisbane theatres can book direct with Larrikin Puppets.
Theatre space requirements
- Ideally a darkened, black-out theatre with a professional sound system and stage lighting. Note, we can adapt and perform in a daylit school or community hall. However, the puppet show and UV black light puppetry will be enhanced by stage lighting.
- Stage or performance space that’s at least 6m long (along the front of stage) and 4m deep (from front to back of stage).
- Ideally the height of the stage or performance space should be at least 3m. Note, we can adapt and perform with a height of 2m. However, the puppet show and UV black light puppetry will be enhanced by having more height.
- For schools, if sound and stage lighting is available, we would appreciate the support of a teacher or student – trained in sound and lighting – to manage the sound and lighting, with a 20 minute rehearsal opportunity prior to the show. However, we can bring our own for an extra fee.
- For theatres, we will require the services of your inhouse sound and lighting technician, with a 20 minute rehearsal opportunity prior to the show. However, we can bring our own for an extra fee.
- Balcony seating is not ideal for a puppet show where puppeteers prefer to remain mostly hidden.
Contact us directly (Brisbane) to discuss bringing Hijabi Girl: A Musical Puppet Show to your theatre or school.
Thank you very much to the following wonderful people who donated to our crowd funder and earned a web link back:
Only With You Photography
Blank Gold Coast
Tash and Dave Hayes
James Marshall – Pubbets
It was amazing to raise $8,321 to help fund new puppet and set builds and exceed our crowdfunding goal. Thanks to all the amazing people who donated and earned a social media video shoutout! Check out our video playlist of puppet shoutouts.