Bringing The Paper Escaper to Tasmanian theatres with Artistic Director Sam Routledge


Term 3 means two things in the Terrapin office. First, our school touring production sets off in the monster van to visit close to 100 Tasmanian primary schools. Second, we start gearing up for our season in Tasmanian theatres, which occupies the October school holidays each year. This year, it’s your chance to see new production The Paper Escaper (which was our school touring show last year – it all starts to link up!).


The Paper Escaper is the second production generated from our writing for puppetry program which commissions work from writers that is specifically authored for the artform. This program has been ground-breaking for Terrapin as it has allowed us to create theatrical worlds centred on the visual language of the puppet and completely commit to the unique features of the artform. Scaredy Cat was the first production we made through this process and we have been able to apply heaps of learning from making that work into this new production.


The Paper Escaper tells the story of Benny, a character in a pop-up book, who wants to live a story different to the one that was written for them. Told using oversized masks and beautiful colourful paper puppets (including a giant octopus) the work features no language and is told entirely through action accompanied by a rich soundtrack. There are moments in this production where Charlotte Lane’s set design, Bryony Anderson’s puppet design and Jacky Collyer’s sound design all come together to create moments of tension where the whole audience is holding their breath, or joyous sequences that lift the roof off the theatre. My favourite moment like this in the show is the ‘disco inferno’ where fire takes over the table and the whole audience starts to move as one, dancing with the fire.


It’s been thrilling to be able to imagine these whole worlds that are entirely ‘puppet’ and harks back to the children’s entertainment of my childhood like Sesame Street, The Muppets and films like The Labyrinth where humans were in the minority. We’ll be further exploring this sensibility in our school touring production for 2024, Feathers by Dan Giovannoni.


Hope to see you in the theatre in October.

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