STRINGS ATTACHED: Sky’s the limit for talented puppeteer
Brett Hansen has been on our film and TV screens, theatre stages and performed in our local pubs and clubs for years, but you have never seen him.
That’s because Brett. 40 is a passionate puppeteer, and he has worked with some of the best in the business.
Brett and his wife, Elissa run Larrikin Puppets, a career he has dreamt of doing professionally since he was a little boy.
But it almost never happened.
“I tried for many years,” he said.
“I played in bands, studied animation and worked as a cartoonist, but I always worked everyday jobs like admin and retail.”
That was until he auditioned for the Sesame Street parody performance, Avenue Q.
“They told me I was the only one that had good puppetry skills,” Brett said.
It was after this confidence boost that Brett took the brave leap to starting his own puppetry business, and he has never looked back.
“People said to me it’ll be impossible to make money out of puppets,” he said.
The theatric couple perform at birthday parties, schools and day care centres, as well as
festivals and shopping centres.
But it was a recent collaboration with a well-known Australian group that became a huge hit.
Larrikin Puppets joined forces with Australian rock band, Regurgitator for their child-friendly project, Regurgitator’s Pogogo Show.
Brett’s puppets were used for the band’s music video, Best Friends Forever.
“After that happened they asked us to perform on stage with them at the Tivoli,” he said.
“My wife is their biggest fan, so to be able to work with them was a huge deal for her and me.”
As a man in his 40s, Brett has no qualms with people suggesting he is too old to be playing with puppets.
“I don’t think you ever get too old,” he said.
“The guy who did Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird only died recently, and he was 84.
“There are a lot of puppeteers who are a lot older than I am.”
In this technological world of ever-improving special effects and computer-generated imagery, Brett believes old-school puppeteering was making a resurgence.
“Practical effects and puppetry are starting to interest film makers again,” he said.
“Now you have actors interacting with these physical puppets.
“One of the last Star Wars had a puppet Yoda.”
Larrikin Puppets will perform their Australia Day themed show at Noosa Reef Hotel on Thursday, January 23 from 10.30am.
For more information contact the hotel on 5430 7500.