Trash Puppets makes a puppet show

For the past two years Trash Puppets has been engaging with communities all over Victoria, empowering creativity with our signature puppet-making workshops, and teaching a valuable lesson about sustainability. We have worked with a huge array of communities and seen thousands of puppets come to life. Now it is time to step it up a notch! This show is an important way for us to complement our popular puppet-making workshops with a meaningful performance. It will mean that we are able to share our message of sustainability and help unlock creativity in many more kids and adults across Australia. And, stay tuned for when ‘Escape from Trash Mountain’ makes its debut in late 2017!

After working with thousands of everyday people, Jhess Knight firmly believes we are all inherently creative. In this talk, she draws on her experience running puppet-based creativity workshops to explain how, like anything worth having, creativity takes time and practice. Jhess Knight is a puppeteer and puppet maker. She is a founder of Trash Puppets, a Melbourne-based organisation which aims to empower and encourage individual creativity in schools, offices, and at community festivals, by sharing the inclusive joy of puppetry with everyone of all ages, genders and abilities.

Trash Puppets, Australia


Unfortunately the Pandemic and its associated effect on the education, arts and events sector, has meant that our “on call” puppet making workshop and roving performers program is no longer viable, and we have had to make the difficult decision to close it down permanently.

We are still touring our family shows.

Trash Puppets aims to educate adults and children alike on the concepts of sustainability, through creative puppet workshops where imaginations are expanded and play is key. Our workshops are suitable for school incursions, public events, birthday parties and corporate team building. Not to mention our Trash Puppets Show, that has toured internationally. Our professionally made roving puppets are also available for hire along with the workshops, or by themselves.

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What have we learnt?

Some notes from the podcast:

Jhess Knight is a puppeteer and puppetmaker and describes herself as a Jack of all trades. Trash Puppets is a company looking at Sustainable education through play based learning.

Is there a particular approach to working with recycled materials? How do the materials dictate to you/other people you work with which way they want to go with what they make? Two approaches;

1. Decide what you want to make – look for shapes that you want in the trash
2. Use trash as inspiration> more interesting characters emerge> movement of trash

Dashund called Dawg (moulded from newspaper) – Had to stop bringing him out as an example – people can get very stuck. Abstract puppets more clearly made of trash encourage MIUAYG. It can be an engineering activity (copying the example) rather than an imagination activity, she prefers to encourage – play> explore> discover> allow failure

Happy accidents are often those that occurs not only when you’re making puppets but in performance as well. You might accidentally drop a puppet but then it turns into a wonderful moment eg when the puppet has a tantrum on the floor.

It’s hilarious what you discover when you think you’ve made a huge mistake and the more you explore that it becomes part of the character. I often find its the imperfections sell a character. Symmetrical puppets are bizarre…

See Henri the Orangutan

She talks about filming marionette Astrid, and whether to green screen or not

>Suspension of disbelief> sharing with an audience is where the magic happens> the audience is more active

>Black makes the puppets stand out more and is better for projected images