Create prototype mechanisms for use in puppetry performance

Ever wanted to give those eyes a blink, twitch those ears, operate a bird’s beak that is too small for a hand to fit inside, fly a bird remotely, swim a fish in all directions, make a shadow dog jump and bark, or merely give extra movement to a puppet’s head or wrist?

Tinkering is a chance to experiment and create prototypes of those mechanisms you need to enhance your next puppet or show, away from the isolation of your studio, in the company of like minds and under the guidance of acclaimed puppet maker Tim Denton.

With no worksheets, templates or kits for preconceived mechanisms, Tinkering gives participants the unique chance to create individualised prototype mechanisms specific to your puppets, shows or ideas. We will investigate possibilities for rod, hand, tabletop and shadow puppetry, and discover how these prototype ideas can be transferred between most puppetry genres.

Working intensively over two days, prototype mechanisms will be made of plyboard, cardboard, light aluminium, wire, cord, and fixings that can be easily obtained and do not require an extensive workshop of tools.

Extend what your hand can do when working a puppet!

10am – 5pm
February 28th & March 1st
Melbourne Polytechnic
 144 High Street Prahran Victoria 3181 Australia

$250 Full / $125 Students

Early registration of interest is suggested.

Tim is focused on providing an informative and experimental process; participants are encouraged to contact Tim directly to discuss their ideas early allowing plenty of time for preparation!

Hand and battery-operated tools and light machinery will be available, contact Tim directly if you would like to bring your own / specialist tools.

About Tim Denton


Originally from New Zealand, Tim Denton is a puppeteer, visual artist, clown and mask performer / teacher and has distinguished himself as one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading performing arts designer / makers. A specialist in both small and large scale projects, Tim’s work includes builds for several AFL Dreamtime at the G events and Moomba Parades as well as the Australian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Sydney Theatre Company’s Storm Boy, and the Flying Fruit Fly Circus Helpmann Award winning production The Promise. Last year, Tim was puppet designer and maker for the movie Tumble Gum starring Jack Thompson (in post-production). Puppets included a full size kangaroo, koala, bilby, goanna, cockatoo and kookaburra, all with moving eyes, eyelids, mouths, ears, legs, and wings.


Tim at work on the elephant from The Promise (photo Annie Forbes) and the finished Elephant in production (photo Richard Jeziorny).


Puppets in progress for Tumble Gum and Koala on set (photos Tim Denton).

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Tinkering is part of Fermenting Change, proudly supported by the Australia Council.