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!

Aladdin2nd showCockburnxmas (8)

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.

Aladdin2nd showCockburnxmas (4)

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” –


Posted in Childrens Theatre, Festivals, touring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween 2018

Thurtinkle Halloween 2018

DNA Puppeteers Rachel Riggs and Adam Bennnett had a great, ghoulish time at our SHAC artist  annual community celebration. Keeping to the traditional pagan roots of ‘Our Hallows Eve’ and recycling decorations from the local refuse tip, SHAC artists and DNA Puppetry aim to build the community celebration with parades, giant puppets and installations in the future.

Adam Thurtinkle Halloween shac

Over the weeks before Halloween, families were invited to participate in after school ‘Weird Wednesday’ creative workshops to make costumes, magic wands, lanterns and shadow puppets. Making fabulous creations for the scariest night of the year with artists Lynda Moylan, Cerrie Beech and Rachel Riggs

Hundreds of people came trick or treating, to watch Thurtinkle storytelling by the fire, the childrens shadow play and fire show.

For more information about SHAC –

Recent blog post about DNA puppetry at SHAC here

Thank you to photographers and all who participated x


Posted in Events, Festivals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tissue Play !

Recently I returned to Como childrens centre in Perth, Western Australia to meet new children and run a series of workshops on ‘Tissue Play’. I was artist in residence here a few years ago and had a weekly opportunity to facilitate child led creative play, engaging with many themes, including ‘Cloud Child’, nature play and much story telling.

Having the opportunity to regularly research and develop early years engagement with themes, objects and materials, is a joy! And new ideas and investigations are always inspiring from the childrens experiential learning journeys.

‘ Using Tissue play and puppetry’ is a book produced by earlyartsuk, outlining the Tissue Play techniques from Imaginary Leaps, for early years educators.

Ideal for all young children but particularly for those first language is not English, or for whom expressing their thoughts and ideas through words presents a huge barrier, this fun teaching pack hugely encourages children’s speaking and listening skills. It can have a massive impact on all areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and helps build a keen self-awareness and awareness of others.

using tissue paper&puppetry cover

This inspiring resource can be purchased at







Posted in Arts in Education, early years, eyfs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Creating a Puppet Diva!

Wanda diva sings

ToyBox band at Fremantle Street Theatre festival, Western Australia 2018

Ive always wanted to make a simple ‘muppet’ lip sync style puppet to use for singing live and street theatre walkabouts. I love to sing and happiest to have the puppet project the song.

Wanda toybox diva

‘Wanda’ took me a week to make, a few hours a day, creating her from what i had in my craft resources – foam, pipe lagging, polystyrene ball head.

She can wear a varity of wigs, depending on which diva she is based on, for example Karen Carpenter, Dusty Springfield, the possibilities are endless! Her 70’s vintage dress can also be restyled or removed, so she can wear all kinds of retro, funky clothes.

Wand mermaid puppet

Wanda as mermaid for Stretch Festival parade, Mandurah, WA 2018

Posted in Events, Festivals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNA Puppetry at SHAC – Sustainable Housing for Artists Collective

SHAC CC Dec 1st (5).JPG

DNA puppetry/Imaginary Leaps has a new home at SHAC in Fremantle, Western Australia! Since moving in last year, we are really happy to be in a unique, world class facility for artists to live and work in a supportive co operative. As well as a studio and storage in our homes, we have community studios for performances and exhibitions, and will be officially launching a whole programme of workshops and performances in the near future!

SHAC CC Dec 1st (6).JPG

Cloud Child has been a big success for families with young children in our local community and DNA is building a programme of regular childrens theatre in the future! as well as an annual Halloween celebration and much more!

SHAC CC Dec 1st (33).JPG

Playing outside with family enrichment and engagement

access house open (10)

SHAC studio upstairs for artist exhibitions

SHAC’s unique native gardens and eco friendly environment

Posted in Art, Arts in Education, Childrens Theatre, early years, Education, ethics and environment, Events, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melbourne puppetry masterclass

puppetry training image

On Sunday March 18th 2018, Adam Bennett of DNA Puppetry and Visual Theatre conducted a day long masterclass on puppetry manipulation and performance technique.

The venue was Siteworks in Brunswick, a newly opened facility which offers a great set of spaces for a variety of activities. The workshop took place in an open, light and airy space which gave everybody plenty of room to move, create and perform.

Sarah Kriegler of Lemony S and Caitlin Dullard of La Mama Theatre supported the visit of Adam, who flew over from Perth, and helped to find the participants for the day.

puppetry class melbourne

The workshop looked at the physical flexibility and relaxation of the puppeteer, the concentration and focus required and some hand and body training and technique. Lemony S had some practice puppets and with these the participants spent some time on eyeline, focus, thought and impulse, bringing the puppet to life, the puppet’s physicality and the illusion of the laws of physics i.e. when to obey them and when to break them.

puppetry class melbourne

Later the workshop focussed on quick and easy techniques to train in multi-operator puppetry (sometime known as ‘Bunraku’ technique) where three puppeteers work together to bring a fully articulated figure to life. This gives participants the opportunity to look at some issues around puppet manipulation in detail, separately. For example, the legs and feet must always be providing the illusion of maintaining the centre of balance, and the head must always be clearly signalling intention and focus.

multi-operator puppetry

Adam will be conducting further training in puppetry in Perth later in 2018 at the Blue Room Theatre in Perth and at SHAC in Fremantle.


Posted in Adult Puppetry, Arts in Education, Events, Festivals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cloud Child flys into Fremantle!


In Nov/Dec 2017, DNA Puppetry/Imaginary Leaps gratefully recieved funding from the City of Fremantle, Western Australia to tour their internationally acclaimed Cloud Child interactive puppetry and play to early years settings in the local area .

CC shows SHAC Dec 2nd (12)

Cloud Child explores the bond between parent and child in a touching and delightful way. An interactive theatre performance for young children and their families. With a child-centred approach, the elemental nature of clouds stimulates the imagination and emotional expressive development of early years (under sixes).

Cloud Child Little Peoples Pl (16)

Cloud Child is a highly visual, non-verbal show all about belonging and love.

O'Connor Play & Learn (4)

Every child is given opportunities to participate with their own little fluffy cloud to nurture, animate and sculpt into whatever they imagine.

SHAC CC Dec 1st (30)

The children have an immersive theatre experience with

  • A cloud cloth to crawl under and games
  • Cloud shaped cushions
  • A basket of white cloth with different sensory textures.
  • Originally composed music by Verbal Vigilante
  • Storytelling, improvised with children’s ideas and responses.

DNA Puppetry/Imaginary Leaps presented the interactive performance in early years settings and also in their new home base, living and working at SHAC – Sustainable Housing for artists and creatives, White Gum Valley, for 10 performances.

SHAC CC Dec 1st (5)

DNA founder member and director Adam Bennett, reprised his puppeteer/performer role, expertly manipulating Cloud Child with a new member to the DNA team, circus performer and clown, Lynda Moylan. Adam and Lynda have both trained with Reg Bolton’s Suitcase Circus, so it was a joy to see their complicity working together. Artistic Director Rachel Riggs reworked and produced Cloud Child, bringing in the performers innate clowning skills for this version.

O'Connor Play & Learn (7)

Lynda Moylan is a graduate of Theatre/ Media Communications degree in Bathurst N.S.W. For over 25 years she has worked with Circus, Theatres, and Festivals in Australia, Scotland, England, Spain, Italy, Amsterdam and USA. Lynda now lives in WA  working with Suitcase Circus, Western Australian Circus Festival and WA Circus School and Southern Edge Arts in Albany.

CC rehearsal shac

Cloud Child performed at –

Foundation Early Learning Centre

Cloud Child FELC (12)

First Steps Early Learning Centre


O’Connor Play and Learn

O'Connor Play & Learn (12)

Fremantle Early Learning and Development Centre

O'Connor Play & Learn (9)

International Early Learning Centre

Cloud Child IELC (6)

Little Peoples Place

Cloud Child Little Peoples Pl (17)

Feedback included –

‘Such a beautiful show, even the littlest babies’ attention was captured’ – Jessica Stevens, Fremantle Early Learning & Development Centre

‘The kindy friends loved every minute! That was fabulous! The underlying emotions really captured the children’ – Laura Calabrese, – First Steps Early Learning Centre, Hilton

‘Awesome show! Very interactive and the children were all very interested’ – Robin – Educator, O’Connor Play & Learn

‘Inclusive and goes with the childrens ideas, involves them and lets them lead’ – Beck – Educator, O’Connor Play & Learn

‘The children loved it! Even the babies focused on it’ – Kate Seery – Director, International Early Learning Centre, Beaconsfield

‘Really captivating, they loved it! It was nice and child led’ – Avalon O’Dowd – Director -Little People’s Place, O’Connor

For up to date information – follow Cloud Child on Facebook

DNA/Imaginary Leaps will be touring with another early years show in April 2018 and creating a new work later in the year!

Thanks to SHAC for our new home! and all who supported and participated  x

Logo - Sponsored by

Posted in Childrens Theatre, early years, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment