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Jul 30, 2015 2:47 EDT

Peta and the Whale: to make a story which inspires awe and respect for creatures of the deep, drawing on the songs and stories of the past

iCrowdNewswire - Jul 30, 2015

Peta and the Whale

The story of the project

We want to make a story which inspires awe and respect for creatures of the deep, drawing on the songs and stories of the past, blended with  a vision for the future. 

 ‘Peta & the Whale’ tells the story of a little girl who imagines what it would be like to swim with the most incredible and enormous creatures in the ocean, inspired by her sailor Grandfather’s songs of the sea and her own active imagination.

We want to create a show which is inspiring and hopeful about the future, blending old and new puppet techniques with old and new storytelling and music.

How the funds will be used

The funds we raise will cover the costs of puppet and set construction for the premier Melbourne Fringe Festival season of ‘Peta & the Whale’. The show features numerous puppets, from elaborate marionettes to a menagerie of shadow puppet sea creatures.

Peta herself is a detailed marionette who will feature novel 3d printed aspects to allow for expression changes, something conventional puppets cannot achieve. Sculpted digitally in ZBrush and printed using FDM (fused deposition modelling) 3d printing techniques, Peta will have an assortment of facial options and different hand poses. These images show the progression from initial sketch to 3d prototype head.

The final image of Peta swimming with an enormous blue whale filling the theatre will require a sophisticated, inflatable whale puppet. The set is a transforming element, incorporating lights and various technical tricks to metamorphose into different environments. Money raised will also allow the creation of an exciting soundscape to support the live music elements of the show. Funds will also support the creation of projection imagery and video for the shadow sequences and for the transformation of the set and theatre into a deep sea world.

Outline of budget
Puppet construction $6000
Set construction $2500
Materials $1500
Lighting design and hire $1100
Pozible, Credit card and PayPal transaction fees $900
Total $12000
Puppetvision and the performers are contributing their time and expertise to the production on a profit sharing basis.

Some of my other work

My current role as Associate Creative Director at The Creature Technology Company keeps me busy designing and building dinosaurs, dragons and other large monsters.

I have been creating puppets in various media for over thirty years. For many years I was Artistic Director of Polyglot Puppet Theatre, designing and building for shows such as ‘Almost a Dinosaur’, ‘Tadpole’ and ‘DIgger’s Mate’. My freelance work includes the stage productions of ‘The Hobbit‘ and ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’. Television work includes 72 episodes of ‘PIg’s Breakfast’, as head of the puppet department. On film, I have operated pigs and geese for ‘Charlotte’s Web‘,  a crocodile for ‘Rogue’ and a mutant sea monster for the Korean cult hit ‘The Host‘. An an independent producer, I have run four seasons of the puppet variety showcase ‘Pure Puppet Palaver’ at Melbourne Fringe, created ‘Alien Tourist’ for Federation Square, created the puppet rock opera ‘Tyrannosaurus sex’ and I’ve appeared at most puppetry events as grumpy marsupial Ken Koala.


As a new puppet production, there are many challenges in establishing the most effective and compelling way to present our story using a diverse range of puppets. Each puppet demands time and attention throughout the design and build process as well as careful rehearsal. ‘Peta and the Whale’ will have over twenty puppets, some characters with multiple versions. Ensuring that we maintain a clear build schedule to remain on time and budget, carefully prioritizing the characters to make sure each item gets the care it requires without sucking up too many hours.
We will have a detailed build plan based on clear designs and a strong sense of which elements and characters require the most work.
Contact Information:

Philip Millar
Joe Blanck
Jhess Knight
Victoria Osborne
Franciscus Henri
Peter Nielson
Danny Miller

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