Northern News : December 21st 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 BE IN TO WIN A FAMILY TRIP FOR FOUR TO RAROTONGA! See G.J. Gardner Homes for details GJ-RFHA-SOL-FN1211 53 Hobson Avenue, Kerikeri. Phone: (09) 407 3441 OPEN Monday-Friday 9.00am-5.00pm 0800 42 45 46 www.gjgardner.co.nz Career puppeteer Puppet master: Kylie Penn with her cheeky Christmas elves. See a video of Kylie Penn's children playing with a Christmas puppet house, available from the co-op. ' I was at home with my child and needed to earn some money so I made and sold puppets. Then I had an idea for a puppet show. ' Kylie Penn By EMMA GODWIN THE legacy of Jim Henson is alive and well in the Far North with director Kylie Penn introducing the next generation to the madcap world of puppets. I was an avid fan while growing up,'' Ms Penn says. I made my first puppet when I was seven and then when I was 11 I made an anima- tronic head for my science project.'' Ms Penn was focused on creating a career in children's TV for herself as a teenager. In sixth form, there was no drama teacher so I convinced the school to allow me to teach myself. I then took two teachers and 11 kids with me to tour a show around Northland.'' Her mother was always terrified by her daughter's career choice but an over- whelmingly negative res- ponse from her tutors at Auckland's Unitec to children's TV put her right off and she retreated into the world of theatre. I worked for years in children's theatre in Whang- arei and Wellington but I moved back to the Far North to look after my grandfather who had cancer. After he died I felt the need to create so I donned a hippo costume and performed a ballet for kids called Fairy Pottamus.'' The show was well received and Joanna Laird, a mother, author and composer in the audience, contacted Ms Penn and the two began working together. We created a show called Tales from Pop Mountain. It was great but toured during the flood of 2007, while I was building our house and was pregnant with my first child.'' Ms Penn returned to her first passion, puppets, after a well-earned break. I was at home with my child and needed to earn some money so I made and sold puppets but then I had an idea for a puppet show and called Joanna.'' The two created The Enchanted Forest and toured the country this year -- 63 shows for 8000 children, parents and teachers. I've now started a pro- duction company called the Magic Play House, I've created a product for schools called Show in a Box, and I'm a member of a new art and craft co-op in Kerikeri next door to Pete's Transport Museum where I sell my puppets.'' Her plans are ambitious. One day the Magic Play House will be making won- derful, quality, educational children's television.'' Visit www.themagicplay house.co.nz for more infor- mation.
December 14th 2011
January 11th 2012