Terrapin Puppet Theatre was founded

in 1981 by the late Jennifer Davidson.


Jennifer, a designer from the Tasmanian Puppet Theatre, established a Tasmanian schools touring circuit and a strong reputation for design. The company had a large full time staff including puppeteers, designers and makers, including Sandy McCutcheon, Tom Samek, Jindra Rosendorf, Greg Methé and Noriko Nishimoto.

Little Red Hen (1983) with Jennifer Davidson

Heartburn Hotel (1988 & 2006)

The Soldier’s Tale (1981) with Ilonka Craig, Anthony Ackroyd and David O’Halloran

Annette Downs led the company

to its first international tours.


Annette continued Terrapin’s tradition of school touring, but also created shows with higher production values for theatres: Terrapin played in Hobart’s historic Theatre Royal for the first time. Terrapin also toured internationally, staging Desires in Budapest and Little Red in Korea and Taiwan. Artists involved with the company during this time included Philip Mitchell, Lian Tanner and Kirsty Grierson. One of the most successful productions created during this period was The BFG: Big Friendly Giant, which enjoyed success in Hobart then toured Australia over the subsequent three years.

Another Place, Another Space (1992)

Desires (1995)

Jessica Wilson explored new work

for adult audiences.


In 1999, Jessica Wilson took over as Artistic Director. In addition to making work for children, Jessica also created productions for adult audiences, resulting in Frankenstein and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and was a pioneer in incorporating projection into live performance. Working with Jessica during this period were artists such as Ben Sibson, Phil Lethlean and Colin Sneesby.

Frankenstein (2004)

Stormy Night (2002)

Annie Forbes continued to create

unique work for puppetry.


In 2004, Annie Forbes was appointed Artistic Director.  Among other productions, Annie created The Storyteller’s Shadow: A Celebration of Hans Christian Andersen, which toured Tasmanian schools then went on to be presented in Denmark, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Artists involved with the company during this time included Sam Routledge, Richard Jeziorny and Laura Purcell.

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (2004)

The Storyteller’s Shadow (2005)

Frank Newman led Terrapin to

innovative form and awards.


Frank Newman was Terrapin’s fifth Artistic Director from 2007 to 2012, when he introduced the concept of digital puppetry. Frank’s productions were seen at the Sydney Opera House and the Arts Centre Melbourne, in China, the USA, New Zealand and Ireland, and included the collaboration with the Children’s Art Theatre of China, When the Pictures Came.  He directed the Helpmann Award-winning Boats, seen in over 400 performances across Australia, on two tours to the USA, and in China. Frank’s final production with Terrapin, Shadow Dreams, a collaboration with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, linked venues in two cities in interactive, simultaneous performance.

Helena and the Journey of the Hello (2008)


Boats (2008)

Explosion Therapy (2008)

Sam Routledge presents new Australian

works in collaboration with leading writers.


Sam Routledge has been the Artistic Director of Terrapin Puppet Theatre since November 2012. In this role he continues to work collaboratively and in partnership with other companies and has commissioned new works of puppetry from leading Australian playwrights including Nathan Maynard, Finegan Kruckemeyer and Finn O’Branagáin.

I Think I Can (2014)

You and Me and the Space Between (2016)

King Ubu (2020)

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Thanks for subscribing!