Thurtinkle seems to have inspired at least one emerging writer to write for puppets and puppetry in her work

Originally posted on Thurtinkle's World:

Many years ago I was leaning out of my little house as usual telling stories to a lovely group of children and adults. Somewhere in the crowd was a little girl called Tilly Lunken. She and her mother really enjoyed my stories and have always remembered and treasured that special time they had with me. How do I know this? Because she said so herself just the other day!

Tilly now is a writer! She loves telling stories too. Here is a photo of her getting ready to tell a story with puppets. Tilly is working on a new show and had a showing as part of the HATCH festival at Little Angel Theatre in London. I’m so happy to see you doing the same thing that I enjoy doing so much. Keep up the great work and never stop having fun.

Tilly Lunken

Tilly Lunken

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‘Up in the air!’, a Cloud Child world imagined by children at Como Childrens Centre, Perth, WA

Como clouds instaal (4) como cc session 8 (1)como cc session 8 (8)como cc session 8 (21)como cc session 8 (22)como cc session 8 (23)Como clouds instaal (9) Como clouds instaal (20) session 7 como clouds (1) session 7 como clouds (2) session 7 como clouds (16) session 7 como clouds (22) session 7 como clouds (26) session 7 como clouds (27) session 7 como clouds (30)

‘Up in the Air’ Cloud children installation was made in June/July 2014 with children at Como Children’s Centre by Rachel Riggs Early Years artist and visual theatre specialist.

Another exciting investigative journey is about to begin with the theme of ‘Earth’!

Thanks to Linda, Katie and all the Como Children’s Center staff x

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Thurtinkle’s Tales in Karratha, WA

Thurtinkle and his new friend Amity had a lovely fly in, fly out visit to the Cossack family festival, near Karratha, Western Australia the other weekend. Aswell as telling Terry Jones fairytales, we had fun m aking lots of puppets! Thanks to Georgia Stewart, the festival organiser for sending the photos!

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Cloud Child flies into W.A! Artist in Residence at Como Children’s Centre

Rachel writes: From February 2014, I have been artist in residence at Como Childrens Centre, Perthcomo kids centre (3)Como Children is a unique early learning centre serving children aged 2-5 years in a beautiful home-style setting with the creative arts at the centre. The early years educators there, develop their practice from

como kids centre (1)many contemporary theorists and pedagogies, such as the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences influencing good practice. I visit there one day a week  to research and develop investigative journeys with the children and staff using puppetry, shadow play and story telling approaches. Every day there,  I come away feeling inspired!

Eva's drawingof Cloud Child age 4

Eva’s drawingof Cloud Child age 4

My initial plan was based on Imaginary Leaps tissue play and puppetry sessions, playing with white tissue moving through to exploring colours, encouraging imaginative play and  developing into story ideas.

2014-02-13 10.58.13In the early sessions, a pathway of white tissue paper was laid on the studio floor and I modelled to music-listening, moving and blowing the tissue. The children exclaimed joyfully and began to play with their tissue paper, this prompted visual symbolic references and making up rhymes.Exploring all things that fly, birds, fairies, butterflies and superheroes, the children offered their ideas.

2014-02-13 10.47.47Modelling how to form the tissue paper into a bird for one child, we very soon made a flock of white birds, and they began to talk to each other , the children instinctively developing story threads. Another child made ‘the tiniest bird ever’, a scrap of tissue on a straw, and it was what he believed it to be, showing original creative thinking.

term 2 ses 2 cloudsAfter the Imaginary Leaps session and morning tea, I tell the story of Cloud Child as a one woman show, which was a challenge, but with help from staff who attended my puppetry and storytelling professional development session at REMIDA, (see http://dnapuppetry.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/imaginary-leaps-at-remidaperth-wa/) we were able to tell the essential story of Cloud Child with the original puppet and props. There were some emotional responses when Cloud Child had to fly away, and many questions asked. Every week the children asked for Cloud Child, again and again! some send messages to the sky in paper aeroplanes or call cloud Child on the telephone, so the sessions took another direction , led by the children.

shadows session 7 (23)We begin to explore Cloud child’s world, with tissue clouds, using the cotton sheets and moving into play with the Dacron clouds. exploring white light with torches and the overhead projector, I use shadow play in the sessions to explore colour, and guide the children into devising story threads about cloud childs adventures in all areas up in the air- night sky & stars, space, over mountains shadows. Some weeks, i tell nursery rhymes with shadow puppets, but the children always ask where Cloud Child is? and want the story again.   Como shadow session 1So the childrens ideas of Cloud child’s adventures are played with in the weekly sessions, every week I bring in a range of props and materials, often from their prompts to continue the play. We look at the clouds in the sky, and spend time discussing different kinds of clouds and then playing with different materials, red angry clouds, or cool snowy cloud, even a robot cloud! Como Aunties feedback -Ali ‘The shadows are so beautiful & magical’

session 6 (12)Retelling the Cloud Child story every week in storytelling and play is a fabulous opportunity to reply and repeat the key elements n the story which connect to the children and become embedded through the creative practice.After Easter, prompted by the children telling me, ‘we are cloud children!’ we move into another area of play, exploration and experiential learning in Cloud Child’s world.

session 6 (38)With staff , we make a set of small Cloud child dolls or poppets for the children to play with on large white cushions, with different white cloths and the dacron clouds. They instantly play families, making up new songs and stories, about the weather today, Cloud child going round the world and meeting astronauts in space!


At storytime I replay the children’s ideas and story threads , performing them back to them, improvising with whatever is at hand for story time. The children are really attentive and captured when I refer to the investigations they have experienced. Showing elements of their play work affirms their self esteem, confidence and sense of place in the world.

2014-03-06 10.42.33This in turn gives me a wealth of new creative ideas for future practice, our next investigation in development is an installation of many different kinds and sizes of clouds. Working title ‘Up in the air!’, this will be a cloud children world made and imagined by the incredible staff and children at Como Childrens Centre.




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Thurtinkles Telling Tales at W.A Festivals

Thurtinkle writes: This year, Ive had a wonderful time so far getting out and about to the Western Australian Festivals while im over here at the end of the world in Perth! Ive met lots of young & old story tellers at the WA Circus Festival in January, Nannup Music Festival in March and now Fairbridge Folk Festival, where with my new presenter Amity  accompanying me on her ukulele, we had a fun time!  Next up, I will be out and about touring to more regional towns but for now, Im putting my feet up and having a nice cup of tea! Heres some photies from me album :nannup best 2 nannup bestThurtinkle & the boy (2) Thurtinkle & the boy (1)fairbridge thurtinkle (3) fairbridge thurtinkle (1)thurtinkle Wa circus fest


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Chicken Licken – So Long and Thanks for all the Chooks!

Chicken Licken with Melvyn Rawlinson

Melvyn Rawlinson has performing DNA’s much loved golden egg of a show ‘Chicken Licken’ for the past few years and weve loved him taking the show out to new young audiences, in schools and theatres nation wide in the UK!

He writes:

‘There are some shows which may leave an audience pondering on the deeper meanings of life and then there’s others which make you laugh so much that you’re still smiling hours later. And perhaps that’s what I like so much about Chicken Licken, that although there’s elements of jeopardy and anticipation it’s the sound of laughter that is the most pervasive. Because I was running a puppet making workshop after the performance at Leominster Infant school I had plenty of opportunity to hear what was important to the children. Perhaps predictably, many said they liked the slap-stick element and the rather obvious gags like the chicken growing bigger or the fox burning his tail, but I was really surprised by was how much of the word play they had picked up on and wanted to repeat to me. But when you over-hear a teacher saying ‘ it was so funny, I could have sat there all day’ you’re left with a nice feeling which helps with the tedium of the 3 hour drive home.’

Thank you Melvyn for all wonderful storytelling and hard work for DNA, and our best wishes for the future!

Puppetry montages:
Chicken Licken http://youtu.be/2_MGWKrnohc
Pied Piper http://youtu.be/a0FbTZrmsec
Greek Theatre http://youtu.be/KRXWd-oqJfo
Outdoor/Walkabouts Montages:
Performances for EVENTS http://youtu.be/0ca6Elj7sII
Farmer Jolly http://youtu.be/mDwtUXqkvdI
Herbert the crab who went to sea – full show http://youtu.be/jhGHHyXEU30


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Imaginary Leaps at Meerilinga Childrens Centre , Coolbellup, WA

Session 2 round (2)For the past 8 weeks, Rachel has been playing with families with young children at Meerilinga Childrens Centre, on another early years creative engagement programme here in Coolbellup. Last year , I worked with families here on a CANWA funded project, and it was great to work with Jenny and the team, as well as reconnect with the family groups.

Session 2 round (9)Each week had a different play theme, from the circus, round & round, shadow play nursery rhymes,  tissue play animals, to natural elements – the sea & water, earth & nature play. The last session was Mrs Teapots puppet party, transforming everyday tea party pots and pans into puppets , and telling stories!

meerilinga session 8 mrs teapot 002Feedback from parents included -

San – ‘Excellent organised play’

natureplay 6Claire -‘ A fantastic, magical playtime! Heath still plays with the paper boat and little pipecleaner figure we made from water play. He fills up a bucket, and sails it around, always ending up with rough seas! Now everything becomes a puppet and has its own voice.’

meerilinga session 7 (6)Sharene -‘Thank you for a wonderful time! Millen takes the little pipe cleaner people to bed with her – they are Daddy & Millen’ – sailing on the sea. She talks about you all the time and every day asks if we are going to see Rachel and Bobby puppet.’

Me, bobby & millencircus 3circus 14meerilinga session 7

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