Red Rebel puppet ready for action!

Red Rebels WA

Rachel writes ‘ I started making the red rebel puppet a few months ago, so she would be ready for climate change actions and demonstrations. She can be used as vertical or horizontal rod puppet, so she can move with detailed actions with human red rebels, when bearing witness to others activism, or paraded high at rallies

Mannequin head idea

‘ I had the idea of using a mannequin head, as the Red Rebels movement as street theatre performers is very slow and controlled with clear deliberate actions and gestures. So i began by cutting it cleanly in half , hollowing out to fit rod mechanism and covering with many layers of paper mache, then painting on gesso – a mix of pva glue, white acrylic paint and Tetrion plaster’

2 layers of brown paper and 2 layers of white butchers paper

‘A hole is made to insert the horizontal rod from inside, screwed into a base to stop it turning round. It was essential to reinforce the neck with a metal pipe and integrally connect the shoulders and neck with red cord and plastic pipe to create realistic movement.’

Recycling product packaging and foam
Red cord connects shoulders/arms to neck with all main connections strengthened
Starting to come together!
The head with rod control

‘The head is carefully sandwiched back together with Tetrion and white glue and taped to hold while setting. Then sanded down to create a porcelain effect. The body is shaped with more foam, and red gloves are stuffed with dacron with a card hand shape to give structure and hold shape. Shes ready to be dressed’

Evening out the shoulder area connections
Traditional Red Rebel costume

Her red dress and head dress are fitted, thanks to Lynda Moylan and Chris Clarke for helping with the costume! More ribbons are added. Now to paint the face and traditionally, in making puppets, the eyes are painted on last, to give life’

‘I wanted the puppet to have standout features at a distance and capture the iconic look of a Red Rebel activist with the distinct make up, drawing on theatrical traditions’

A few more details and shes ready to go!

XR Red Rebels are silent street performers who move and act as one chorus. Originally inspired and created by Invisible Theatre Uk, they have troupes all over the world, bearing witness to the climate emergency action with unity, empathy and compassion. The red of the costumes represents the blood that unifies us with all living beings and in Australia, the colour of the land, honouring the original Aboriginal custodians, past, present and future.

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DNA Puppetry at Glastonbury

A collection of photos from performing at Glastonbury festival over the years with all the many artists/family weve worked and played with. The DNA team were very proud to be listed in the 50 year celebration book with performances, workshops and walkabout puppets in the theatre and kidzfields. How we very much miss being there this year, due to the current covid situation. I have walked and worked the fields of worthy farm since I was 18 years old and watched many great artists and bands from my favourite spot under the great oak tree in front of the main stage. Its such an important cultural celebration, DNA puppetry has been priveleged to be part of. Lets hope we can all be together again next year!

Rachel Riggs – artistic director

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Round & Round ! early years tour 2019-2020

DNA Puppetry/Imaginary Leaps shared performances of our newly adapted storytelling theatre play ‘Round & Round’ in a tour Nov/Dec 2019, sponsored by the City of Fremantle. With performances at local early years settings, Fremantle Arts Centre and  Sullivan Hall Community Centre.

Photos by Tim Grant

‘Round & Round’ is a show specially made for very young children and their carer, highly visual with little spoken language accessible for all!

There is a 30 min story telling puppetry performance with interactive, sensory play activities afterwards for 10-15 mins to aid full experiential learning and engagement.

And also a story book to accompany, and continue experiential learning when the performance & play is over.

‘Round & Round’ was developed in the UK as ‘Ballpond Bobby’, performed at TATE Britain, London and toured to festivals in Europe! Now, a newly created version is on tour, specially made for early years centre’s in WA.

DNA’s working practice starts with the exploration of physical properties (such as material and everyday objects) through simple play approaches, similar to the way children explore the world.

Underpinning this exploration is the desire to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary, reflecting the ease with which children do this everyday in their imaginary play. Coordinating with Early Years Framework outlines.

‘The purpose of creating work in this way is to encourage and stimulate the imaginative play of children, engaging them as audience and participants in a process of creating characters, stories and worlds out of the everyday objects around us. When creating DNA’s work for early years audiences, the company takes care not to introduce conventions, assumptions or concepts that are beyond young children’s immediate experience or comprehension.’

Rachel Riggs  – Creative Director, with Adam Bennett – Puppeteer and Lynda Moylan – Performer

In Jan/Feb 2020,‘Round & Round’ is performing as part of Fringe World 2020, Perth to large, sell out family audiences.

Imaginary Leaps are also very proud to be part of the smallsize international childrens theatre network, creating and celebrating original quality theatre for young children.

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Canterbury Festival Chicken Licken

The classic show Chicken Licken performed by Adam Bennett was presented at a vintage original Spiegeltent in Canterbury as part of the Canterbury Festival 2019


“I really enjoyed performing in this amazing venue,” says Adam ” the people who helped get the show ready and the families who came to see the show were all lovely.”


“I’ve performed this show hundreds of times over three continents in three different languages,” continues Adam and I am hoping to present it in Australia in 2020, taking it to cities and rural communities.”

Adam is taking bookings of Chicken Licken for 2020 from Australian venues, communities and event organisers. If you are interested in finding out more about Chicken Licken, show availability and prices please email or call Adam on 0410 880330

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Kidz Field, Glastonbury Festival 2019

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This year DNA Puppetry took off to the ‘greatest show on earth’ once again with an all women family team of Glasto Goddesses! The Kidzfield celebrates 25 years this festival  and in DNA Puppetry’s 25 year history, we have performed in the Kidzfield and Theatre fields almost every year, with most of our shows!

glasto show times

For 2019, DNA presented a new storytelling show, ‘Tales from the Magic Carpet – Aladdin’ with vintage puppets and props, performed and created by Rachel Riggs with Cerrie Beech on percussion, and assistance from Georgina Solo/Adele Greaves. We performed everyday in the Kidzfield Big Top for families, with the line up including Andy from Cbeebies and the great Basil Brush!.

DNA also present crafting workshops each day with Sarah Hicks and Emma Liddle taking care of the make and play activities, making recycled creations with help from the team.

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Georgina Solo has made our DNA puppets for years and we were grateful to have her back with us, making sure DNA’s walkabout puppets were in tip top condition and making set/props instantly on site!

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Added to this were our well loved walkabout puppets – the talking Baby, the Rainbow cat, Grumpy puss and Puppy plus marionettes. Performed by our team, Cerrie, Rebecca, Adele and Rachel ,we love to be part of the great and much loved Kidz Field! Thanks to Emma Liddle for all the photos, all the DNA puppetry team, Tony and Emma Cordy, and all the team.


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Imaginary Leaps joins Small size Network


Imaginary leaps is very proud to be accepted as a member of the international early years childrens theatre network Small Size! The Network is a member of ASSITEJ International, Childrens Theatre association

Small Size was founded in 2005 with the support of the European Commission and the Culture 2000 programme. It was established by 4 professional theatre and educational arts organisations: La Baracca (Italy), Théâtre de la Guimbarde (Belgium), Acción Educativa (Spain) and GOML (Slovenia).

The project promotes audience development, in particular the development of children-spectators, making children approach performing arts both in Europe and worldwide, because children, even the youngest ones, have the right to be viewed as spectators of today and not only of tomorrow, and that they are human beings and not just “human becomings”.

Small size Network was founded as an Artistic International Association in 2007 with the aim to widen the performing arts for early years (0-6 years). The Association promotes training, documentation and partnership and friendship programs.

Starting from 2015, every year the network promotes the Small size days. On the last week-end of January, shows, workshops, events dedicated to children 0-6 will take place in all associates’ venues all over the world.

Today the associates are 55 from 4 continents and 26 different countries: Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, South, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA and now Australia!


Cloud Child play with Adam Bennett for small size days 2019

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Cloud Child wins Fringe award!

Earlier this year DNA Puppetry’s Cloud Child was nominated for a Childrens Theatre Award at Fringe world Perth! Congratulations to all involved and a big thank you to our Perth audiences!19_Childrens_Event_Award_Weekly_WinnerCloud child fringe press (9)

Cloud child and Lynda Moylan

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Chicken Licken returns to the UK for a Spring 2019 tour

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DNA Puppetry and Visual Theatre are presenting the timeless classic Chicken Licken in April 2019 in three lucky venues – Jacksons Lane in London, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead and Square Chapel Centre for the Arts in Halifax

Chicken Licken is presented by Adam Bennett,  in his third decade of being a full time performer and puppeteer. Adam is one of the co-creators of this show with long time collaborator Rachel Riggs and has performed this particular show in theatres, arts centres, festivals and events on three continents and in three languages; English, Spanish and French.

Screenshot_2019-03-26 Chicken Licken

The review by Flossie Waite in Children’s Theatre Reviews praises Adam’s easy and witty style which carries this show, drawing in the excited attention of the children with charm, skillful puppeteering and a nod towards the absurdity, hinted menace and homespun charm of the original ladybird books that were the source material for the performance.

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Cloud Child at Fringe World Perth, WA

cloud child fringeworld 2019 (3)

Last weekend Cloud Child flew into Perth to delight families with young children in the Sunset Verandah venue at Scarborough beach. Playing in a big top tent to a large audience, puppeteer Adam Bennett and circus performer Lynda Moylan told the ever enchanting story of Cloud Child, to lovely audiences.

cloud child fringeworld 2019 2nd show (2)

Each child recieved their own little fluffy cloud to hold during the storytelling and fly in the clear Perth blue sky at the end of the performance, as they exited out of the tent in a follow the leader procession.

cloud child fringeworld 2019 (9)

Giant mermaid fabric covered clouds at the main entrance were also part of the sensory engagement for children to interact with.


Audience feedback included –


‘a beautiful little show’

‘is their a childrens book of this story?’

‘this is the only show my profoundly deaf son has ever sat still and enjoyed!’

‘my child was mesmerised!’

Thank you to everyone who supported DNA’s performances and look out for the Cloud child story book coming soon!

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New show! Tales of the Magic Carpet

Schezerade DNA 2

Rachel from DNA Puppetry and Imaginary Leaps has been working on making a new storytelling show, honouring Schezerade, the original storyteller of all storytellers, who saved herself and hundreds of women in the city of Baghdad from death.

making schezerade (10)

In a vintage style one-woman adaptation of the stories of the Arabian Night’s,  Rachel was inspired by her travels performing in Iran and the amazing story of Schezerades survival to create this show. The Arabian Nights tales were gathered from the travelling merchants along the Silk Route, stories from Persia, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, China and India.


Rachel researched the original stories, also drawing upon Lotte Reinigers silhouette shadows of Prince Ahmed, and Ray Harryhausen’s magical animated films of Sinbad the Sailor. The magic of objects in these stories is significant, as life was hard in feudal societies, and the transformation of everyday objects, represented a yearning of the human spirit to break free from a rigid socio economic ranked society which didnt give people much freedom to live their lives. Therefore in the rags to riches tales, the carpet can magically fly you anywhere and the lamp which houses a magical genie, symbolises deliverance from darkness, the shining light helps us to see where we are going.


DNA Puppetry brings to life the fantastic tales from Ancient Persia for young children and families. Imaginatively creating a trilogy of ancient tales, blending visual theatre techniques, music and audience participation. We begin with the classic story of Aladdin and his Magical Lamp, told with table top puppets, marionettes and a muppet style Schezerade.


Come on a magical journey and see the bazaar come to life… with smells of spices and fragrances, silks and jewels, magical objects and enchanting music. And lots and lots of cloth!

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Scheherazade is a legendary Persian queen who is the storyteller in 1001 Nights. It was said she had collected a thousand books of histories, the works of poets, studied philosophy, the arts and sciences, and knew them all by heart. She represents the female story tellers of the ancient world and the show is a tribute to all women who behind the scenes, create their own power and safety, within the culture they find themselves in.

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Thanks to Cockburn Childrens Centre and Roving Mad Entertainment, lynda and Cerrie, Sian and Paul for helping out on my first shows!


“When it comes to making children’s theatre, it’s clear DNA Puppetry and Visual Theatre are part of the upper crust” –


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