I grew up watching The Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. I loved everything Jim Henson was doing.
I had a couple of small puppets of my own, which I used to practice with and learn all the moves from watching these shows and movies. I would perform puppet shows for my family at home, and in the library at school.
I was bullied a lot as a child and this continued into adulthood. I was (and still am) weird and "different", and this didn't sit well with many people.
I studied animation and played keyboard in bands on the side while working full time for many years in mundane, minimum wage, exploitative employment.
In my early 30s I auditioned for a role in a local Brisbane production of Broadway's "Avenue Q". I was cast in the show, and was also allocated the role of puppetry trainer for all of the actors.
Avenue Q was a voluntary side project at nights and on weekends. After the six week season of performances ended, so did my full time day job... and my first marriage. I was left broke, unemployed, divorced and miserable.
I signed up to an unemployment program for entrepreneurs called the NEIS programme (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) and finally started that puppetry business I’d always wanted to start through all of the training and support provided by NEIS.
Established in 2012, Larrikin Puppets has grown from strength to strength. Starting with small back yard birthday parties, Larrikin Puppets has performed in schools, childcare centres, libraries, shopping centres and festival events like the Woodford Folk Festival, the Bundaberg Pageant of Lights and The Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn in New York City! We also run puppetry performance workshops in schools, theatres and public events, and we provide puppetry for film and TV projects too.
I spent three months in the USA for professional development, which included formal puppetry training under Jim Henson puppeteers from Sesame Street and The Muppets.
My amazing wife Elissa joins me for the larger festival and touring shows, as well as some of the childcare centre and school shows. We continue to grow Larrikin Puppets together.
What First Got Me Interested in Puppetry
Jim Henson - Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.
My Puppetry (or Puppet) Hero
If I Were a Puppet, I'd Be...
Kermit the Frog. Full of dreams and ambition. Wanting to make millions of people happy.
More About Me:
I am a full time puppeteer, but also spent many years as a musician in several bands, a cartoonist and an animator. The music and drawing were side hobbies, though. I worked full time in awful jobs for many years.
Established in 2012, Larrikin Puppets performs puppet shows all over Queensland at festivals, child care centres, parties, libraries, schools, shopping centres and ticketed theatre events.
We perform as puppet MC (using Troggg the blue monster) for corporate events, award ceremonies, film screenings, AGMs and festivals.
We provide puppetry training and performance for film, TV and theatre productions, as well as puppetry workshops for school classes, vacation care, and for the public.
Larrikin Puppets was WINNER of the BizCover NEIS Change Award at the 2015 Small Business Development Conference, and FINALIST in the 2017 What's On 4 Kids Awards 'Best Party Entertainment' category.
Brett Hansen is the founder of and principal puppeteer at Larrikin Puppets, whose weekly puppetry work is mainly focussed on live performances at festivals, childcare centres and parties around the greater Brisbane area. He also runs beginner puppetry workshops at schools, vacation care and other events. Brett spent a week in residence at Belmont State School teaching each child from prep to year 6 the art of storytelling through puppetry as part of the 2016 Belmont Literary Carnivale.
In 2016, Brett spent three months in the USA for professional development where he networked, trained and performed with puppeteers in New York City, Los Angeles and Texas. He received formal puppetry training at the Beyond The Sock advanced puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas under Jim Henson puppeteers from Sesame Street and The Muppets; Marty Robinson and Noel MacNeal, with puppet construction training from Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Brett also trained at The Puppet Kitchen in Manhattan, New York under Michael Schupbach (Sesame Street, The Jim Henson Company). Brett performed his puppet show with Troggg and friends in New York City at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn.
In theatre, Brett was puppetry consultant (trainer of puppeteer cast members) in both the 2012 and 2014 Brisbane Arts Theatre productions of Broadway musical, "Avenue Q", and the 2017 Sunnybank Theatre Group production. Brett was also a puppeteer cast member of the show in 2012, co-performing Nicky and Trekkie Monster. Brett’s own casted stage show "Thank Troggg You’re Here: A Puppet Impro Spectacular!" debuted at the 2014 Anywhere Theatre Festival and has been performed several times to large audiences.
In film, Brett performed the puppet characters in Richard Bell’s ‘5 for 35’, a film which screened in 2015-2016 at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) at GOMA (Queensland’s Gallery Of Modern Art). He also assisted with the puppetry in ‘Cluck: The Web Series’, puppeteered Troggg in the short film ‘Heart of a Thousand Souls’, and puppeteered two characters in the short film ‘Kev’. In television, Brett has performed puppetry on “Totally Wild” (Network Ten), “The Bureau of Magical Things” (Jonathan M. Shiff Productions and Network Ten), The Late Nite Show” and “Showreel” (Channel 31) and appeared (as Troggg) on two episodes of “Juiced TV” (Children’s Hospital Foundation). Brett and Elissa also performed the puppetry on the music video for Tia Gostelow’s single, ‘That’s What You Get‘, which has aired nationally on Rage and MTV.
Elissa Jenkins performs Flossy, Marina and other background characters. She has received formal puppetry training at The Puppet Kitchen in Manhattan, New York under Michael Schupbach (Sesame Street, The Jim Henson Company), and often assists in the running of our own puppetry workshops.
A special project of Elissa’s within Larrikin Puppets is the launch of Puppets At Work which will feature a program of activities for corporate and community workplaces.
While Larrikin Puppets is a full-time business for Brett, it is a part-time, passion piece for Elissa, who says, “I am very lucky to have such a playful business to have fun with while supporting it to grow.”