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Little Wing Puppets specializes in puppetry performances and workshops for children. Jenny Ellis, the Artistic Director, has been a puppet-maker for over fourteen years. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Puppetry from the Victorian College of the Arts, where she received the Student Union Award for Best Theatrical Design. She has also studied Puppetry for Film and Television, traditional wooden marionettes in Prague and shadow theatre in Germany. Throughout 2011, she studied with Shadow Puppet Master Richard Bradshaw as part of the national Jump Mentoring program. In 2012 she was awarded a major fellowship with the Mike Walsh Foundation to research contemporary puppetry in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

Jenny has attended puppetry masterclasses with international artists such as Ronnie Burkett (Cananda), Duda Paiva (Brazil/The Netherlands), I Made Sidia (Bali), Nobert Gotz (Germany), Roman Paska (USA) and Teatro Gioco Vita (Italy). Her training in clown/physical theatre includes workshops with Clare Batholomew (Australia), Ira Seidenstein (USA), Frazer Hooper (UK), Tom Greda (Switzerland) and Giovanni Fusetti (Italy).

As Artistic Director of Company Gongoma, Jenny has performed and taught workshops across Australia. Company Gongoma’s show, The Mermaid's Daughter, was nominated for the Adelaide Fringe Festival Puppetry Award 2008 and won the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for The Best School Holiday Program 2008. With Little Wing Puppets she has two solo shows A Little Bit of Blue and The Owl’s Apprentice.

Jenny has performed at numerous festivals across Australia including Woodford Folk Festival & Yungaburra Folk Festival (QLD), SNAP IT UP! Youth Arts Festival (NT), Fairbridge Folk Festival & UNIMA World Puppetry Congress (WA), Cygnet Folk Festival & The France to Freycinet Festival (TAS), The National Folk Festival (ACT), One Van International Puppet Festival (NSW), Tarrengower PuppetFest, VIVA Multicultural Arts Festival, Darebin Music Feast and Puppets @ FedSquare (VIC). A Little Bit of Blue was also part of the Regional Arts Victoria Arts-2-GO program for 2012. She has also performed to over 35,000 kindergarten and primary school children as part of the Young Australia Workshop touring program since 2008.

As a maker of puppets and props, Jenny has worked with many companies, including Polyglot Puppet Theatre, Erth Visual & Physical Inc and Graeme Base’s “My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch” which opened at The Melbourne Arts Centre. She also worked for AboutFace Productions making props for The Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ show “The Promise,” which won a 2009 Helpmann award for Best Presentation for Children. With Idja Dance Theatre, Jenny designed part of the opening sequence of the City of Melbourne 2010 Moomba parade.

Jenny’s teaching residencies include The Birds of Tennant Creek with Beyond Empathy, Barkly Arts and the Australian Theatre for Young People in the Northern Territory (2009-2010). For Birrarung Ngargee: River Gathering (2008) with IDJA Dance Theatre she designed and made puppets with teenagers from Northlands Secondary College, VIC. Jenny has co-ordinated two workshop series at City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay; Shadowy Figures: Playing with Light (2008) and Stand Up Puppets: Getting the Giggles (2010) where the children created puppetry short films, both of which were shown on the big screen at Puppets @ Fed Square 2008 and 2010.

Jenny has undertaken three residencies as part of the Victorian Government’s Artists-in-Schools program. In 2010, Jenny devised a muppet musical with 14 children in a month-long residency at Willowmavin Public School. In 2011 she directed a large-scale puppetry event called “One Day There Were Three Giants” (2011) at Ringwood Heights Public involving 300 students and in 2012 another large-scale puppetry performance at Officer Primary involving 150 children called “The Legend of the Landshark” (2012). She also directed a show involving over 50 members of the community of Bruny Island, Tasmania, which was developed over 5 days as part of the Kids ArtZone. Each show was written, designed, constructed and performed by the children. Jenny also directed "A Joey for Josephine" a shadow puppet show about the early French explorations of Tasmania, which involved over 160 members of the Swansea, Bicheno, Orford and Triabunna communities on the East Coast of Tasmania (2012).

Jenny has also worked with puppetry for many large-scale community festival events, including the Yeperenye Festival in Alice Springs, NT (2001) and The Adelaide Fringe Festival Opening Parade with Knee High Puppeteers (2002), Dreamtime at the G’ at the MCG (2010) and the France to Freycinet Festival Parade (2012).

Cirrculum Vitae

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Copyright © 2010 www.jennyellis.com.au. All rights reserved. Site by sabweb

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Jenny Ellis is currently being mentored by Richard Bradshaw through JUMP, the Australia Council's national mentoring program for young and emerging artists. In Victoria, JUMP is being delivered through Melbourne Fringe. www.jumpmentoring.com.au