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Island Puppetry Workshop

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Event description

Island Puppetry Workshop is a rare and exciting two-day intensive puppetry performance workshop run by Larrikin Puppets on Bribie Island in Queensland being held on the weekend of June 17-18, 2023.

This is the first puppetry performance workshop for newbies, oldbies and emerging puppeteers that we've hosted since Covid mercilessly tore us all apart! You have been begging us for years to run another one! And now we're delivering! Let's come together again for some very serious (but not really serious) puppet fun!!! 

Kids 8+ also welcome, if they have a clear passion for puppetry. 

Day 1 Puppetry For Stage: 10am-4pm, Saturday 17 June
Day 2 Puppetry For Screen: 10am-4pm, Sunday 18 June

IMPORTANT: We need at least 10 bookings on both days for the workshop to run. Interstate participants and those who haven't attended this workshop before are highly encouraged to attend both days. Please do not book travel, flights and accommodation until we confirm the workshop is taking place!

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

Students will learn the puppetry arts practice that informs:

  • TV shows like Sesame Street, The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
  • Characters such Grogu from The Mandalorian, Bobby from Sweet Tooth, and Thing from Wednesday.
  • Stage puppets for theatre such as Avenue Q, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, Olaf from Frozen The Musical, and the puppets from the Bluey stage show.

Students learn lip sync, eye focus, walking, arm movement, emotion, character voices, and stage craft. Each student is able to work with professional workshop puppets and will learn eye focus using little puppet “hand eyes”.

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
  • Secure paid work as a puppeteer
  • Have fun!

Returning attendees from previous Island Puppetry Workshop weekends can use the opportunity to practice their skills and jam with rare access to specialty tools, equipment and other puppeteers. Due to the fact that puppeteers are spread so far and wide in Australia, opportunities to jam and practice together are rare.

This puppetry workshop is for both adults and children aged 8 and over. No previous puppetry experience needed. Students will get a chance to practice puppetry techniques using real puppets.

Day 1: Puppetry For Stage

Students will learn about the manipulation techniques of Muppet-style puppetry for live performance including:

  • a short puppet show demonstrating how the puppets look when performed.
  • opportunity to view the short puppet show from both the audience perspective and from backstage, watching the puppeteers in action.
  • an educational talk about different styles of puppetry.
  • an educational talk about Muppet-style puppetry and how the puppets work.
  • a hands-on puppetry performance workshop.
  • performances of skits from students to demonstrate what they have learnt, both in front of and behind the puppet theatre.
  • learn a group puppet dance choreography.

We will explore a range of movements from puppet and puppeteer:

  • Stance, eye focus, lip sync, breathing, puppet vibrato (singing), walking, hearing, arm rod manipulation (waving, scratching, covering mouth, high fives, etc.), emotions/gestures without dialogue, emotions/gestures with dialogue, dancing to rhythms while lip syncing to vocals.
  • Proper entrances, proper height, left and right handed skills.
  • Puppet assisting (two puppeteers working one puppet – rod puppets and right handing for ‘live hands’ puppets).
  • Character building, voice acting and working with scripts.
  • Character building on the spot – Improvised scenes.

Day 1: Puppetry For Screen

Students will learn the unique and challenging skill of monitor puppetry for Film and TV including:

  • a demonstration of monitor puppetry.
  • an explanation about “how” and “why” monitors are used for film and TV puppetry.
  • how to use a monitor to perform a puppet within a camera frame.
  • how to make a puppet seem real on camera using eye focus, walking and lip sync, all while keeping human/puppeteer heads and arms out of the shot.
  • how to frame a single puppet and work with more than one puppet in a frame, in conversation.
  • performing a group puppet dance choreography, recorded on video.

This interactive, practical workshop is led by professional film and television puppeteers Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins who were formally trained in the USA by Jim Henson puppeteers from Sesame Street and The Muppets.

Brett and Elissa regularly perform puppetry for television, music videos, corporate videos and online. Most industry professionals do not know what’s involved in filming puppetry for film and TV. It’s harder than it looks – and most people don’t know how it works!

Dinner by the ocean Saturday night at Sylvan Beach Seafood Cafe. Attendance optional. Dinner and drinks will be pay your own way.


Both Days: 
$115 without lunch and snacks
$145 with lunch and snacks (Vegetarian and gluten free options available on request. Apologies, we cannot accommodate Vegan or any other specific dietary requirements)

Day 1 Only: 
$75 without lunch and snacks
$90 with lunch and snacks (Vegetarian and gluten free options available on request. Apologies, we cannot accommodate Vegan or any other specific dietary requirements)

Day 2 Only:
$75 without lunch and snacks
$90 with lunch and snacks (Vegetarian and gluten free options available on request. Apologies, we cannot accommodate Vegan or any other specific dietary requirements)


To keep costs affordable so as many people as possible can participate, Larrikin Puppets will be hosting this Island Puppetry Workshop at our bespoke home workshop space in Banksia Beach located just 200m from the ocean passage. Here, you will be given a tour of where all the Larrikin Puppets magic happens including the company's newly constructed Puppet Studio & Craft Room, Media Room, and Office.

Bribie Island is the only Moreton Bay island that you can drive to! It’s connected to the mainland by bridge and is 1 hour from Brisbane Airport. As you cross the Bribie Island bridge you have captivating views of Pumicestone Passage on both sides and, in the distance, the majestic Glass House Mountains. Pumicestone Passage is home to an amazing array of wildlife. Dolphins, Dugongs, and Turtles cruise the passage and over 300 species of birds, including migratory birds, visit the island each year roosting in trees and along the foreshore and feasting along the sand flats. Bribie Island is protected by Environmental, National and Marine Parks, 86% of Bribie Island will remain unchanged, ensuring the natural beauty will remain for future generations to enjoy.

Accomodation options on Bribie Island: Find places to stay, either on the calm side (Banksia Beach, Bellara, Bongaree), or the surf side (Woorim). Lastminute might be a good starting point –
And also AirBnB.

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