The Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia Biennial Scholarship

The next Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia Scholarship will be awarded in 2025.

More information about the Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia Scholarship is outlined below.

The Rose and Ross Hill Memorial Biennial Scholarship

The inaugural Rose and Ross Hill Memorial Biennial Scholarship will be awarded in 2024.

2024 Rose & Ross Hill Memorial Biennial Scholarship

Photo of Rose Hill in front of shelves full of her puppet collection
Rose Hill with some of her extensive collection of puppets
Ross Hill making the Diprotodon for the MTA’s Smiles Away in 1981 Source: Theatre of the Impossible by M Vella, H Rickards

To be eligible for either scholarship, an applicant must be a continuous financial member of UNIMA Australia for at least 2 years. To join, please visit our membership page.

Or contact our Membership Secretary, Katherine Hannaford, via our Contact form.

Application Information Guidelines

Scholarship amount: Up to $2,500 AUD

Closing date: TBA March, 2024

Projects must start no earlier than TBA April, 2024.

Successful applicants will be notified by the scholarship committee.

Please send your application to the General Secretary, Kay Yasugi at She will forward them to the Scholarship Committee: Sue Wallace, Joanne Foley, and Murray Raine.

About the Rose and Ross Hill Memorial Scholarship

About Ross Hill (1954-1991) – Puppeteer, puppet maker, puppet director

And Rose Hill (1922 – 2022)

Ross Hill grew up in Mildura. His mother Rose introduced Ross to puppetry at the early age of 6. By 10, Ross was mounting his own productions.
In the late ’70s Ross joined the Marionette Theatre of Australia (MTA) as puppet maker. He was also Assistant Director on the Magic Pudding in 1980.
Ross went on to work as a designer/builder for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in 1985, overseeing the Lichen in Labyrinth. He appeared as himself in the companion documentary Inside the Labyrinth. He also worked on the Muppet production The Tale of the Bunny Picnic.

Ross and his parents Rose and Arthur attended the UNIMA Festival in Moscow in 1976 and Rose also went to the 1979 festival organised by PUK in Tokyo celebrating 50 years of UNIMA.  At that festival Ross worked as a puppeteer in the MTA’s The Mysterious Potamus, for which he had made the puppets (to Norman Hetherington’s designs).  Ross’s manipulation of Paul the Peacock and Calvin the Crocodile was outstanding. His cruel death in1991 at the age of 36 was a tragic loss to Australian puppetry, and a devastating blow for Rose and the Hill family.

Rose Hill created the Mildura Puppetry Centre in a large room added on to the house.  There she displayed Ross’s early marionettes and many other figures she had gathered or made. 

In 2023, the family of Rose and Ross Hill made a significant donation to UNIMA Australia to create the Rose and Ross Hill Memorial Scholarship.

2025 Lorrie Gardner Scholarship

Closing date: TBA March 2025

Scholarship amount: Up to $2,500 AUD

About the Lorrie Gardner 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 Grants

The purpose of the two grants 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 Lorrie Gardner as well as the Rose and Ross Hill Memorial Scholarship are offered to individual puppetry practitioners to further develop their puppetry practice.

Grant Guidelines
The Lorrie Gardner or the Rose and Ross Hill Memorial 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.

Either grant can be for in-person or online training/projects.
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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Provide a 1 page CV for each member applying highlighting information relevant to this application.
  7. 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

2010 RECIPIENT: TIM DENTON – Tim travelled to Vermont, USA, to take part in Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater’s Residential Apprenticeship Program – An intensive 5 week experience.
2011 RECIPIENT: LANA SCHWARCZ – 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 – 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.
2013 RECIPIENT: LAUREN REDPATH (PICTURED RIGHT) – 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. (Photo by Alex Pines).
2014 RECIPIENT: JHESS KNIGHT (PICTURED LEFT) – 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. (Photo of Jhess Knight and LSP Director of Studies Caroline Astell-Burt, Photo by
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’. Photo by Beth McMahon).
2016 RECIPIENT: KATHERINE HANNAFORD – Katherine went to Beyond the Sock – A Puppetry for Film and Television Workshop in Denton, Texas USA. Photo: Katherine sewing the fur for her chicken puppet (Photo by Rudy Cervantez)
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 (Photo by Kay Yasugi).
Mark Penzak
2021 RECIPIENT: MARK PENZAK Our previous recipient was Mark Penzak who worked with experienced director/writer Richard Tulloch to acquire new writing skills and create an outline for a video series, Spookmaster, intended for children and using puppetry as its main form of expression.