Australian Contemporary Puppetry Residency

Infrared image
Design: Skye Hamilton
Photography: Sophia Purvis


The Australian Contemporary Puppetry Residency has been established to support the development of new contemporary puppetry projects in Australia. It is open to Australian individual artists and independent organisations and ensembles working in theatre, dance, live art or contemporary performance. As its central aim is art-form development, proposed projects can be for any audience, in any context. Terrapin has a broad definition of puppetry and welcomes applicants to define the work’s relationship to puppetry as they wish.


The residency is open to all independent, professional Australian artists, companies and ensembles who are developing a project that relates to puppetry. Companies in receipt of annual or multi-year government funding are ineligible.


Terrapin will provide artists with accommodation, studio space and access to Terrapin’s technical resources for a two week period, with an extra week able to be negotiated. It will also fund artist fees to a sum of up to $3,500 for individuals or up to $6,000 for ensembles of two or more artists, plus up to $800 (individuals) or up to $1,600 (ensembles) for travel expenses.  The use of a theatre may also be negotiable.


The residency can occur in any two consecutive weeks in 2018, subject to studio and accommodation availability, in consultation with Terrapin.


  • Describe the work you will develop, paying particular attention to the aspects you define as puppetry (maximum 1 page).
  • What stage of the project will you undertake as part of the Terrapin residency? What will you be doing while you are here? (Maximum 1 page.)
  • Submit a timeline for the project, including any development and presentation outcomes (if known).
  • Are there any other partners, confirmed or unconfirmed, for the project (funding bodies, presentation partners etc.)?
  • Submit artist biographies (maximum of two pages total).
  • Submit, by web link, up to five still images and/or up to five minutes of video of your work.


  • The ability of the project to further the development of contemporary puppetry in Australia.
  • Depth of planning regarding creative process and production.
  • Experience of the artists involved.


Email your application to
Applications close Friday 17 November.
Enquiries can be directed to Artistic Director Sam Routledge on 03 6223 6834 or email
Applicants will be notified of the result on Friday 8 December.



Infrared is a new puppetry work for adult audiences being created through collaboration between the award-winning Lemony S Puppet Theatre & Human Animal Exchange.

Infrared takes us on an exploration of the world from the perspective of the animals around us. Using Charles Foster’s extraordinary book Being a Beast as a springboard, Infrared will delve into the world of humans who traverse from one way of living into another rarely experienced. The project poses questions around existence, ego, perspective and evolution.

We share this planet with an estimated 1 trillion other species and each one of these species perceives the world differently. Infrared will investigate and unpick the human perspective on the world, and offer a chance for audiences to view it from the perspective of other creatures with whom we share this planet. It aims, through shifting these perspectives, to illustrate the relationship between humans and the natural world as a symbiotic relationship, and to expand our understanding of what it is to be human and of our place in the world.  Lemony S Puppet Theatre and Human Animal Exchange will be developing puppets using natural elements including light and water. The two-week residency at Terrapin will be spent exploring the theatrical possibilities of these elemental forms.

Lemony S Puppet Theatre is a small, independent theatre company with a big reputation. Based in Melbourne, their works have been seen throughout Australia and across the world. Their work includes the critically-acclaimed, Green Room Award-winning Captives of the City, which incorporated real time responsive animation to extend the form of puppetry beyond what is expected. Human Animal Exchange experiment with storytelling; harnessing the age-old form of the fireside tale, and pushing the envelope to extend it into a new theatrical mode. Last year, their multi-award-winning production of They Saw a Thylacine kicked off in Tasmania and toured throughout Australia.