Author Archives: Katherine Hannaford

Vale Lyndon Peter Wilson

Lyndon Peter Wilson
We are very sad to inform the greater puppetry community of the recent passing of Lyndon Peter Wilson, who died peacefully at his home in New Zealand on 22nd March, 2021. 

Among his many achievements, he was the co-founder of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (WA), which is marking its 40th anniversary this year. Here is the piece that Spare Parts wrote about Peter:

“Puppetry people from around Australia, New Zealand and the world both remember and celebrate the life of Lyndon Peter Wilson, known as Peter Wilson, who sadly passed away earlier this week.

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre was formed in 1981 by Peter, together with writer Cathryn Robinson and designer Beverly Campbell Jackson, to share the magic of puppetry in Western Australia.

From the outset, Peter brought an international flavour to Spare Parts. He had earlier established the Tasmanian Puppet Theatre in 1970 and studied theatre and puppetry with Puk Theatre in Tokyo, the Bunraku Theatre, National Theatre of Japan, the Central Puppet Theatres of Prague and Moscow, and Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre in the UK.

The company’s first production Faust was presented as part of the 1981 Festival of Perth (now Perth Festival) and was billed as a “total visual experience”. The work was directed by Peter and developed with Japanese artists Noriko Nishimoto and Takeshi Hoshino.

We celebrate the enormous legacy Peter built for puppetry and for his vision in igniting the art form in Australia and later in enriching the lives of artists and audiences in New Zealand. He is fondly remembered by all of us at Spare Parts and by the many artists who received their start under his leadership.”

 Peter won many awards in his career, including the National Drama Critics Award (1979), Sidney Meyer Performing Arts Award (1988) and the UNIMA Australia Lifetime Achievement award (2006) at the 2nd National Puppetry Summit in Hobart, Tasmania (you can read about it in this issue of Australian Puppeteer Magazine, p10-11). 
 In 2018, UNIMA Australia nominated him to be a Member of Honour for UNIMA International, which was to be decided at the UNIMA Congress in Bali in 2020. The congress was unfortunately postponed until April 2021 due to Covid. Peter’s global interaction with puppetry, the establishment of training programs in Australia, (which have been the main driver of the development of puppetry in this nation) and his cultural exchange programs that have also supported innovation in the puppetry arts, were principal factors in his nomination for Member of Honour.

Our hearts go out to Peter’s family, friends and the wider puppetry community as we grieve his loss.

Here are some more photos of Peter below, courtesy of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre:

Applications are now open for the 2020 Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia Biennial Scholarship!

Dear Members,

We are excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2020 Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia Biennial Scholarship! You can get all the information at or read the details below.

We realise the deadline for applications is quite soon, so if you have a project/course in mind but need more time to put your application/support documents together, please let us know (contact Sue Wallace from the scholarship committee at 
 Application Information Guidelines
Closing date: Tuesday 31st March, 2020
Scholarship amount: Up to $2,500 AUD
Projects must start no earlier than May 1st 2020.
Successful applicants will be notified by Saturday 25th April, 2020.
Please send your application to the General Secretary, Kay Yasugi at She will forward them to the current scholarship committee: Joanne Foley, Philip Millar and Sue Wallace.
 About the Scholarship
Lorrie Gardner of Gardner’s Puppet Theatre was a longstanding and active member of UNIMA Australia. She was President for 3 years until illness forced her to retire in 2004. In 2005 Lorrie Gardner bequeathed a substantial contribution to the fund and the renaming of the scholarship fund is to honour not only her financial contribution but her artistic contribution as an outstanding puppetry practitioner, teacher and colleague. The Scholarship Fund has been created through the individual contributions of members, and supported by further donations from the Gardner family. 
 Purpose of the Scholarship
The purpose of the scholarship is to assist the development, evolution and growth of Australian puppetry arts & culture by benefiting UNIMA Australia Inc. members.  All activities, projects and situations must be puppetry oriented.
The Scholarship is offered to individual puppetry practitioners to further develop their puppetry practice.

 Scholarship Guidelines
The scholarship can be used toward tuition costs or travel expenses to attend training institutions, workshops, appropriate festivals, etc. or to work with a specialist teacher. It can also be used towards the costs of bringing a specialist teacher to work with an individual member or group of members or for any other activity that the scholarship committee deems worthy.
It cannot be used for production costs or capital purchases.
 Who is eligible?
 Applicants must be Australian citizens or Permanent Residents.
Applicants must have been continual financial members of UNIMA Australia for a minimum of 2 years up to the closing date of the application. In the event of a group application, all members of the group must be UNIMA Australia Inc. members (with at least one participant being a continuous financial member for 2 years at the time of application).
Members of UNIMA Australia Inc. executive and scholarship committee members are not eligible to apply during their terms of office.
 How to apply
 1. Check your eligibility. If in doubt about the length of your membership contact the UNIMA Australia Membership Secretary, Katherine Hannaford, by email to
2. Check that the proposed project meets the guidelines. If in doubt contact Sue Wallace from scholarship committee (
3. Clearly articulate your proposal in writing in a maximum of 2 pages. If you are applying to attend a course or festival include source material about the course or festival e.g. festival program, web site link, course brochure etc.If you are applying to work with a specialist teacher/artist please check with the scholarship committee if you need to include a CV for that artist. Provide a 1 page CV for each member applying highlighting information relevant to this application. Provide a project budget detailing the Scholarship proponent. 
 Successful applicants must submit a report of their scholarship project no later than 6 weeks after completion of the project. Visual illustration should be attached, including photos, drawings &/or video .  This report will be published on-line and/or in print and also circulated to members. Reports must be sent by email to the General Secretary, Kay Yasugi at

 Previous Recipients of the Lorrie Gardner Scholarship: 
(AboutFace Productions)
Tim travelled to Vermont, USA, to take part in Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater’s Residential Apprenticeship Program – An intensive 5 week experience.

Lana was invited to be one of three emerging Artists at the 2011 National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Centre in Waterford, Conneticut (USA). It was a 2 week experience of Artist development. (Photo shows here shadow work for her show, ‘Small Talk’. Photo by Richard Termine).

2012 RECIPIENT: BETH MCMAHON (the indirect Object)
Beth underwent specialist training with Puppeteer, Film maker and Marionettiste Yvette Edery in Los Angeles, USA. She learned about new creative techniques for Theatre and Film.

Lauren did a summer internship with Phantom Limb Company in New York City, USA. She learened more about their puppet making process while gaining perspective about her own practice, and challenging herself creatively in an unfamiliar landscape.

Jhess used her scholarship to complete her Diploma in Professional Puppetry at the London School of Puppetry (LSP) in the UK, and also attend the Fifth Annual “Festival des Marionettes aux Estampes”, a Puppetry festival in the south of France.

2015 RECIPIENT: MICHAEL BEVITT (the indirect Object)
Michael used his scholarship towards developing the experimental work “For the Love of an Orange” for the Prague Quadrennial Makers Exhibition and working with internationally acclaimed Object Theatre Specialist, Stéphane Georis, in Belgium. (Photo: Gabriel S. Partington and Michael Bevitt performing ‘For the Love of an Orange’.

Katherine went to Beyond the Sock – A Puppetry for Film and Television Workshop in Denton, Texas USA.

2018 RECIPIENT: FIONA FINLEY (The Drama Studio)
Fiona had a 2 day private workshop with puppeteer Kay Yasugi (Pupperoos) to learn various puppetry skills (including shadow puppetry, marionettes and rod puppets) in order to practically apply them in both classes and productions at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in Wollongong, NSW  

Randwick Puppet Festival 17-19 January 2020 – 3 days of puppet mayhem and fun

Randwick Puppet Festival 2020 is coming to a venue close to you! You will find great puppet performances, puppet making workshops and even a puppet picnic at Randwick Environment Park where you can rub shoulders with the biggest puppets you have ever seen. All the shows are family friendly except for the Puppet Cabaret for the grown-ups. You’ll find some old favourites like Dreamer who returns to the Randwick Literary Institute but this time from space! Miss Muffet emerges from a giant pop-up book and Showko brings her brilliant stand-up comedy show Showko: Absolutely Normal to the Randwick Community Centre. Pop in to the library to see the exhibition The Magic of Puppets and to hear Richard Bradshaw talk about his life as a famous shadow puppeteer. Check the website for venues and bookings. See you there! BOOK NOW!

Vale Axel Axelrad

We present to you a special issue of the Oz Puppetry Email Newsletter (O.P.E.N.) dedicated to UNIMA Australia Life Member Axel Axelrad, who passed away on 13th November 2018 aged 99 years. 

O.P.E.N. was a free email puppetry newsletter edited by Julia Davis and Richard Hart (Dream Puppets), and ran from 2010-2015. Julia and Richard reopened the newsletter for this special edition, and we thank them for their considerable efforts in compiling this very important record of Australian Puppetry history.

Thank you to everyone who also shared their stories and memories about Axel. 

You can read this issue in two parts, by clicking on the links below.



UNIMA International Medal presented to Axel Axelrad as a member of honour.

As a Life Member, Axel Axelrad was also presented this medal by UNIMA International for being a Member of Honour of UNIMA.

Congratulations to Scholarship Recipient Fiona Finley

Congratulations to Fiona Finley from the Drama Studio (Wollongong, NSW), who has been awarded the 2018 Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Austraila Biennial Scholarship. She will receive her requested amount of $550 to learn cardboard puppetry and mask construction and performance from specialist tutor Kay Yasugi (Pupperoos).

Applications for the next scholarship will open in 2020. To be eligible, an applicant must be a continuous financial member of UNIMA Australia for at least 2 years. To join, please go to our UNIMA Australia Member Planet site

Or Contact our Membership Secretary, Ruri Konishi, via our Contact form.