A Little Bit of Blue: A Detective Story with Puppets

A Little Bit of Blue: A Detective Story with Puppets

Something’s gone missing again. It’s nowhere to be found. Mavis is looking everywhere. Every day a new thing seems to disappear. Little things: clothes pegs; a tea cup; a ball of wool. But then the thief takes it one step too far.

Mavis calls in a Detective to investigate. A stake out is required. In the dead of night, the Detective indeed finds something peculiar…

A glossy bird is sneaking into the house by night to take things! The Detective follows the bird and discovers a most beautiful nest: a bower with every kind of blue object carefully arranged. But why is he stealing? Your job is to help the Detective solve the mystery.

A Little Bit of Blue is an interactive solo show combining puppetry and clowning. As well as unraveling a mystery, it involves learning about the unique habits of an extraordinary Australian creature, the Bowerbird, and why it is so fascinated by the colour blue.

Written, designed, made and performed by Jenny Ellis
Music by Kelly Ryall
Directing by Jacob Williams and Clare Batholomew
Design consulting by Bryony Anderson & Dayna Morrissey
Script consulting by Anne Brooksbank
Bird illustration by Steph Ives
Film by James Fleming

The Owl's Apprentice: A young owl learning to be wise

The Owl's Apprentice: A young owl learning to be wise

A young owl has been sent to study with an older master, Mr. Tawny. He is angry and misses his family. He’s impatient, he throws tantrums, he sulks. He just wants to go home. He knows the only way he can go home is by gaining “wisdom” but he doesn’t even know what it is.

As part of his training he talks to other animals to learn what they think wisdom is. He talks to a wombat, who says it is about persistence. He talks to a kangaroo, who tells him it’s about listening carefully to what’s around you. He talks to a platypus, who tells him it’s about being flexible. He talks to a koala, who tells him to take things slowly.

On his way, he finds that wisdom isn’t just knowledge. It is knowledge learned from experience. Not just being guided by the lessons of the past, but being able to adapt to new situations. How can these things be wisdom? Isn’t wisdom just one thing? He is very confused. Mr. Tawny sets for him a test in which he must use all the wisdom he has gained from the animals to guide him. Will he get through?

The Owl’s Apprentice is an interactive solo show created by Jenny Ellis using a combination of shadow puppetry, hand puppetry and story-telling. The show is about our unique Australian animals as well as drawing on the field of applied ethics and the 16 Habits of Mind developed by Professor Art Costa. The Owl’s Apprentice poses questions to extend young minds.

Written, designed, made & performed by Jenny Ellis
Puppetry mentoring by Richard Bradshaw
Music by Kelly Ryall & Greg Sheehan
Directing by Jacob Williams & Clare Batholomew
Design consulting by Dayna Morrissey
Script consulting by Anne Brooksbank
Film by James Fleming

The Owl's Apprentice from Jenny Ellis on Vimeo.

About our Shows

About our Shows

Little Wing Puppets has a range of shows to cater to different age groups. We use a variety of styles of puppetry, specializing in shadow, rod and hand puppetry. Our shows are light weight, easy to tour and can be performed either in a classroom or on a stage. Contact us for more information or to make a booking.

Spike: The Echidna

Spike: The Echidna

"The children were excited and engaged throughout the performance. There was lots of laughter. Teachers were impressed by the quality of the performance and the message of the story. Thank you Jenny for providing a high quality, fun Book Week performance for our students. 10/10"
~ Phillipa Moran, Assistant Principal, Epping Heights Primary School

Spike is the story of an echidna who is stolen from his nest by a greedy rat. He hatches from his egg far away from home. A young girl finds him. She is playing alone in the bush because she is being bullied by other children. He has no spikes yet and she doesn’t know what kind of creature he is. She tries to work out where he comes from, but accidently puts him in dangerous situations – in the nest of a crocodile, an emu and a turtle. He feels frightened, rejected, alone. As the story unfolds, she helps him to discover where he belongs, and he helps her to find her own “spikes” and stand up to the bullies.
Told through the art form of contemporary shadow theatre, Spike is an interactive experience for the audience, with lively original music by the ebulliently eclectic Mal Webb. It is entertaining and fun, as well as a catalyst for a discussion about difference and belonging. It also has an environmental theme, being about the unique biology of Australian animals, especially the egg-laying echidna. After the performance there is a demonstration of shadow puppetry techniques, introducing children to an expressive hands-on story-telling medium that is most accessible to young people.

Spike was written in collaboration with acclaimed author Anne Brooksbank, whose work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Books 2012 .Spike has been created under the mentorship of Richard Bradshaw, an internationally regarded puppeteer who has received an Order of Australia for Service to the Arts; and Fabrizio Montecchi, of Italy’s world renowned shadow theatre company Teatro Gioca Vita.

Written by Jenny Ellis & Anne Brooksbank Directed by Jacob Williams & Clare Batholomew
Original music by Mal Webb
Puppetry mentoring by Richard Bradshaw & Fabrizio Montecchi
Puppets and set by Jenny Ellis, Lauren Redpath, Freya Pitt & Nick Wollan
Recommended age: 4 -10 years old
Set up time: 90 mins
Pack up time: 60 mins
Venue: Due to the nature of shadow puppetry, the venue needs to be dark.

This project was proudly commissioned by the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation and supported by Regional Arts Victoria.


Spike from Jenny Ellis on Vimeo.

Trinket, The Robot

Trinket, The Robot

A little Robot who longs to become "real" - but is he ready for what it means to be alive?

“It was good to see the Robot cry. Sometimes I cry too. It was good when the Robot got sad and then got happy again. It makes me feel like when I get sad, I can get happy again too.” – Charlie, 4 years old, Seymour, VIC.

The story is of an inventor, Dr Doovalacky, who, with the help of his assistant, a green caterpillar named Gizmo, sets out to build a robot with the ability to have feelings like a “real” human. The audience helps him to learn about the world, but quickly it becomes more complicated. Dr Doovalacky finds himself losing control of his own creation. Trinket learns that to become human is to not only feel wonder and joy, but also to feel other emotions like anger, fear and the sadness of saying goodbye to someone when you are not ready to. Having feelings is not easy and to be alive means making difficult choices. Trinket the Robot is an interactive solo puppet show, based on the tale of Pinocchio, which explores emotions and offers strategies to children to help understand different feelings.

Written by Jenny Ellis & Anne Brooksbank
Directed by Jacob Williams & Clare Batholomew
Music by Thomas "Soup" Campbell,
Puppets and set by Jenny Ellis, Jeremy Lavender, Lauren Redpath and Dayna Morrissey.

Recommended age: 4 -10 years old
Duration: 40 mins + Q&A

Trinket, the Robot from Jenny Ellis on Vimeo.

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