Owl’s aren’t born wise you know, they have to learn it from somewhere. A young owl has been sent to Owl School to learn to become wise. He’s not like the other Owls. He misses his family. He just wants to go home. He knows the only way he can go home is by gaining “wisdom” but he doesn’t even know what that is.

His teacher, Mr Tawny, sends him to get a book from the library in the far off city. On his way he meets other animals who share with him their own special breed of wisdom. He meets a wombat who tells him to not give up. He meets a Lyrebird who teaches him to listen very carefully to what he hears. A kookaburra reminds him to laugh. On his journey, he finds that wisdom isn’t just one thing, it’s many things. But when a bushfire threatens will he become wise enough to save the forest?

The Owl’s Apprentice is an interactive solo show created by Jenny Ellis using a combination of shadow puppetry, hand puppetry and physical comedy. The show is about Australian animals as well as posing questions with the aim of extending young minds.

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
Touring Party

Due to the nature shadow puppetry a dark venue to perform in is necessary.

Little Wing Puppets specializes in light weight, tour-able puppet shows for children that can be technically self-sufficient and performed in a variety of settings. Their shows have been toured in Regional Arts Victoria programs in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Little Wing Puppets have performed in numerous theatres across Australia including Adelaide Festival Centre (SA), Parramatta Riverside, Seymour Centre (NSW), Margaret River Cultural Centre, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Matt Dann Theatre, Broome Civic Centre (WA), Federation Square, Gasworks Arts Park, Kingston Arts Centre, Wellington Entertainment Centre, Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, Wyndham Cultural Centre, Cardinia Cultural Centre, Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, Burrinja, Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Portland Arts Centre and Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre (VIC).

Artistic Director Jenny Ellis has been making puppets for twenty years, and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Puppetry from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2011, Jenny was mentored by master shadow puppeteer Richard Bradshaw, in the national Jump Mentoring program. She was also awarded a major fellowship by the Mike Walsh Foundation to research contemporary puppetry in Europe in 2012. The Mermaid's Daughter won the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for The Best School Holiday Program 2008. In 2013, The Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation commissioned her to create her most recent show, Spike.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

The Owl's Apprentice uses shadow puppetry, a hands-on medium which is accessible to young people. It is intriguing that in this sophisticated digital age, such an ancient form of story-telling maintains a wide appeal. It is because it is highly visual, sharing common ancestry with cinema, but it is simple enough that kids can do it themselves. I am regularly mobbed by children after the show who are fascinated with the mechanics of shadow theatre. The show is quick, funny, and touching, working well for a range of ages. As an audience member wrote, “Very enjoyable for young (5) and old (83)!”

Marketing Materials

Marketing materials available with production are a promotional video, high resolution images, an A3 poster and DL- flyer template, marketing copy and colouring in sheet.

Community Engagement

Community engagement can be provided through additional shadow puppetry workshops. Little Wing Puppets has a long history of working with communities through puppetry, many of these residencies have begun with tours. In 2016 alone, Little Wing Puppets worked with 18 schools in Western Victoria creating giant puppets for the Upwelling Festival in Portland; mentored the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group and taught Bunraku-style puppetry workshops to teenagers in Gippsland. These were all relationships that began through performing shows. Little Wing has undertaken many residencies at primary schools including Officer Primary, Willowmavin Primary, Ringwood Heights Primary, St Bedes and Mother of God Primary Schools (VIC). Jenny worked with Orford, Bicheno, Triabunna and Swansea Primary Schools on the east coast of Tasmania, for the France to Freycinet Festival in 2012. Jenny’s residencies with indigenous communities include The Birds of Tennant Creek with Beyond Empathy, the Australian Theatre for Young People and Barkly Arts (2009-2010); and the creation of shadow puppetry book RiverBoy (2013) and Too Much Bats (2016) with Helikos, Djilpin Arts and Kid’s Own Publishing. Jenny has also made puppets for many large-scale festival events, including the Yeperenye Festival in Alice Springs (2001), The Adelaide Fringe Festival Opening Parade (2002) and Dreamtime at the G’ at the MCG (2010).