Dead Puppet Society

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In our quest to reawaken the art of puppetry the company regularly conduct workshops and residencies in a wide variety of educational settings with both the young and the young at heart.

Our works are created with strong links to current syllabus making them perfect for a responding task, or as stimulus for a forming or presenting task. The company have a track record of conducting both one off workshops and term long units and we can tailor a work program to fit with you, your students and your school.

We have a strong education focus and have worked in numerous primary and secondary schools and education based organisations, including the KITE Education Program at QPAC, Backbone Youth Arts, ArtPlay, Drama Queensland, Drama Australia, Queensland Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company and Queensland University of Technology.


Intro to puppetry (30-45 mins)

In this workshop students will be introduced to the form of puppetry used by the Society and be guided in the creation of simple plastic bag puppets. This will include:

  • A short discussion of the history of the form and its modern applications.
  • An introduction to basic manipulation techniques (focus, breath, intelligence).
  • The creation of plastic bag puppet characters.
  • Involvement in a series of training exercises to allow for the development of manipulation skills.
  • The workshopping and presentation of a series of short scenes.


Advanced manipulation (30-45 mins)

Building on the knowledge gained through an introductory workshop or previous classroom learning, in this workshop students' understanding of manipulation will be deepened through further coaching and exploration. This workshop will:

  • Provide any necessary recap on the basic manipulation techniques.
  • Take the students through a series of kinaesthetic and impulse, training exercises.
  • Introduce the concept of the manipulation hierarchy and the physicalisation of thoughts.
  • Guide small groups of students through the ensemble building process.
  • Culminate in a series of short showings of seamless puppet illusion.

Puppet construction (45-60 mins)

In this workshop, students will be introduced to a series of techniques for the creation of puppet characters and using simple materials, will be guided through the construction of a fully operational puppet of their own design. In this workshop students will:

  • Be given an overview of the process of puppet design.
  • Be introduced to a variety of joints and control mechanisms.
  • Design their own puppet character.
  • Work under the guidance of one of the Society's artists in the realisation of that character.


Visual theatre processes (90-120 mins)

In this workshop students will be given the chance to engage with the creative process used by the Society in the creation of our puppet-based works. Focussed more on the conceptual rather than presentation stages of a process, this workshop will cover:

  • A discussion of the thematics and subject matter that best suit puppet-based works.
  • The selection of a series of fairy tales or similar to serve as a starting point.
  • The creation of the vision and stylistic parameters that will guide the work.
  • Storyboarding the key moments and the creation of a build list.
  • Basic prototyping techniques using paper and found objects.
  • A short showing.


Shadow play (60-90 mins)

In this new workshop students will be introduced to the art of shadow puppetry and have the chance to experiment with the form. They will be guided through the process of storyboarding, constructing and manipulating their own shadow puppets in the creation of short performances. In this workshop they will:

  • Be introduced to the basic manipulation techniques for shadow puppetry.
  • Work in small groups to storyboard a short shadow performance alongside one of the Society’s facilitators.
  • Learn about shadow puppet construction and build puppets.
  • Rehearse and present their performance.


In the delivery of our education programs, the Society prides itself on being able to tailor our material to suit any circumstance or need. Our workshops have taken place in all sorts of units, from visual theatre, to theatre for young people, epic theatre, absurdism, Australian gothic, and even a unit on realism. They have run from anywhere between a quick, one off class, to a day long masterclass, to semester long residencies. Working alongside your teaching team we are able to engineer a workshop, or workshop package, to suit your needs.


In addition to one off workshops, the Society is also available to work at your school for longer periods or on project-based work in a residency model. Previously we have undertaken residencies with drama departments for unit long work programs, for the creation of course productions, drama extension programs, extra-curricular productions, as well as designing and building sets and puppets for a number of other school performances.

Teacher professional development

Rather teach the material yourself, or want assisstance creating a work program to follow-up or prepare for a workshop? The Society are available to conduct professional development sessions for teachers, either in small groups or one-on-one.

Workshop fees

30-60 mins: $325
60-90 mins: $400
90-120 mins: $475


Email us for a quote.

In addition to our workshop programs, the Society is also available to work at your school on a series of other fronts. Previously we have worked with drama departments on the creation of course productions, drama extension programs, extra-curricular productions, as well as designing and building sets and puppets for a number of other school performances. If there is anything that you think we can help with please don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Dead Puppet Society is a production house and design company creating puppet-based, visual theatre in Australia and the United States. Uniting an old world aesthetic with cutting edge technical elements the company conjur immersive worlds where the mythic sits alongside the macabre, and the old school meets the technological. Working in an eclectic form of theatre that ignores the boundaries between defined artistic practices they balance artistic collaborations with training and workshops to strengthen the form of puppetry on the international stage.

The ‘puppet renaissance’ has been busily playing itself out for a few years now… the Dead Puppet Society at its helm (Greenroom)

The company's strength is their ability to create an entire realm for their audience to inhabit...they are nothing short of amazing (TimeOff Magazine)

Funny and endearing one moment, utterly horrifying the next...its just too well done in its gothic intensity (Australian Stage)

Suberb shadow play and puppetry...stark, sinister beauty (The Sunday Mail)

Touches the rim of the extraordinary… (The Australian)


If you can aid us in our endeavour for puppet equality, are interested in a workshop program or residency, or would otherwise like to say hi, the best way to track us down is on

Australia HQ:
60 Kennedy Tce, Paddington QLD 4064, Australia

United States HQ:
89 Mercer Street, Jersey City NJ 07302, United States of America


The Dead Puppet Society is:
Creative Director David Morton
Executive Producer Nicholas Paine
Artistic Associate Helen Stephens
Technical Manager Samuel Maher
Education Consultant Annette Box

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2018 education offerings

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Hell bent on bringing our inimitable brand of entertainment to the world, DPS creates deeply imaginative theatre where the old school meets the technological and the mythic meets the modern.

The Wider Earth

Laser Beak Man

The Riddle of Washpool Gully

2018 education offerings

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