A Detective Story about Bowerbirds, told with Puppetry, where you help solve the case.
A Little Bit of Blue is an interactive environmental detective story, told with puppetry. As well as unraveling a mystery, it involves learning about the unique habits of an extraordinary Australian animal, the Satin Bowerbird, and their fascination for the colour blue. It is a fun frolicking mix of Detective Noir, slapstick, with some intriguing discoveries thrown in.
Something has gone missing and is nowhere to be found. Mrs Mavis Hooley has been looking everywhere. Every day a new thing seems to disappear. Little things. A $10 note. Clothes pegs. A ball of wool. It’s troubling at first, but the thief then takes it one step too far.
Mavis calls in a Detective to investigate. A stake out is required. In the dead of night the Detective indeed finds something peculiar.... The children’s role is to help him solve the case.
Jenny Ellis, a puppeteer of more than twenty years, weaves the whole mystery together, sometimes playing three characters at once. The young audience gasps with surprise, sighs with the sadness, shouts in outrage, cheers with triumph, and dances with joy as they follow this sneaky bowerbird on his journey to find love.
- Venue Format
- Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
- Technical Rating
- Touring Party
A Little Bit of Blue is a self–sufficient performance that needs only 90 minutes to set up and 60 minutes to pack down. The set is a table-top, and the whole stage, sound system, lights and puppets can pack into the back of a 8 seater-wagon, or on a flight as excess luggage for approx $100. Little Wing Puppets can perform in multiple venues in one day and can be set up in an empty hall where children sit on the floor. All lights and sound are set up and operated by the performer, so a technician is not required. A darkened room is preferred but not essential.
Since 2006, Little Wing Puppets has toured their joy-inducing puppet shows to every state and territory of Australia, as well as overseas. Their work has grown out of a love of the art of puppetry, the Australian environment and a good story. The audience is always included in the theatrical experience rather than just looking on. Their funny and inspiring shows and workshops are compact and ready to travel to family audiences. All shows are technically self-sufficient and have been performed in a variety of settings, from large performing arts centres to little country halls.
Little Wing has built a strong relationship with Regional Arts Victoria and has been toured by them in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2019, most recently with A Little Bit of Blue. Artistic Director, Jenny Ellis has been making and performing puppets for over 20 years. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Puppetry from the Victorian College of the Arts, a Bachelor of Arts (Social Ecology) majoring in environmental education, and graduated from the Helikos School for International Theatre, Italy in 2014. Little Wing performed at the Woodford Folk Festival for the fourth time in 2019, and is looking forward to expanding their touring networks in Queensland.
- Company Website
Unique Selling Point
Both the Bowerbird and the character of Mavis are uniquely Australian, instantly recognisable, and have broad appeal to both and old. A Little Bit of Blue is special because it is based on a Japanese-style of puppetry, where the puppeteer is completely visible to the audience while manipulating the puppets. This makes a detective drama especially absurd, because the culprit and the detective are played by the same person. Yet the audience accepts it and enters into the world completely. Even in a digital age, puppetry retains a sense of magic that is still able to captivate children’s imaginations.
Resources for A Little Bit of Blue includes a Dropbox with all marketing collateral: posters, DL Flyers, a media release, a promotional video and high-quality images, plus copy and a marketing toolkit for Presenters, as well as lots of recent on tour images and social media engagement . There are also educational resources, and colouring in sheets available.
Jenny is passionate teacher of puppetry. She has led month-long teaching residencies at five primary schools as part of the Victorian Government’s Artists-in-Schools program as well as many shorter residencies and workshops throughout Australia. She has also directed large festival projects involving hundreds of people, including the France to Freycinet Festival in Tasmania, 2012, and two Upwelling Festivals in Western Victoria, in 2015 and 2016.
A Little Bit of Blue can be run in conjunction with workshops. The technique of the show is based on Bunraku-style rod puppetry, a traditional Japanese form of theatre. As an experienced teacher, Jenny can tailor the workshops to suit a range of ages from 3 years up, from preschool to high school. It also works well for families, with a mixture of adults and young children in the same workshop, so it can be an excellent addition to a school holiday program. The show connects to the Science curriculum in that it inquires into the life and habits of Australian animals. Bowerbirds live in Queensland. The cultural legacy of the show is sharing the art form of puppetry in your community as well as encouraging a creative way to learn about the local environment.