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Puppeteers set about pulling some strings in the arts world


Dead Puppet Society are a visual theatre company you have likely seen unawares. Their laser-cut wooden puppets appear in stage shows and public sculpture installations but most recently sees them creating a 2 million year old wombat the size of a small car for Echoes in the Dust.

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Pioneers of design-led theatre, they are now putting their monolithic creations on show in their new public work space, ahead of their performance for Echoes in the Dust in Quilpie.

The Brisbane theatre company began 15 years ago, created by theatre set makers who use their fascination for natural environments to create design-led visual theatre for productions which have travelled all over the world.

They now have a permanent home in the newly refurbished Princess Theatre where they have a public gallery space attached to their workshop for the public tp wander in and have a look at their latest creations.

Matt Seery, creative producer for Dead Puppet Society, said their new space has an open door policy after working behind the scenes in theatre for so long.

“We have so often been working literally backstage in theatres, or behind closed doors in workshops. We want to open what we do to the wider public who maybe have no idea what we do. It is no appointment necessary. Come in and have a close look at the sculptures and puppets we’ve got on display.

“You can meet us and have a peek at what our next project is. There’s no distinction between the front gallery space and our workshop so you are in there looking at the puppets we have created and the ones we are currently working on.”

Dead Puppet Society manoeuvring their Diprotodon puppet. (Image: Supplied)

Seery said that their latest escapade is out to Quilpie for Echoes in the Dust, an event which is part of Queensland Music Trails, a roving outback music festival.

Seery said the event is an alignment with the guiding ideals of the company which intends to explode the boundaries of traditional theatre.

Echoes in the Dust is an inventive visual theatre performance which will transport audiences through the unique natural and human histories of Quilpie, a mining town located 1,000km west of Brisbane.

“You can’t help kick your feet around in the red soil or look up into the sea of billions of stars right on the edge of the Bulloo River which is this massive powerful river that cuts across a huge chunk of the state,” said Seery.

“What we’ve tried to do is create a concert that pays tribute to these natural elements across many thousands of years from the Bulloo River itself forming from bushfires racing across the land,” he said.

Seery said the show also includes ancient Megafauna known to have existed in the area, including a Diprotodon puppet, an ancient but extinct wombat creature, which is the size of a small car and takes three people to move around.

“We wanted to stitch these moments in time together across millennia into a 60 minute concert with Topology, Brisbane’s coolest jazz band,” said Seery.

“Most of the time people think theatre is sitting down in a velvet red chair and the lights go down. More and more we’re breaking out of this mold by bringing the actors and the puppets out of the theatre and into an interactive roving experience with robotic sculptures – which is what we will be doing in Quilpie.”

Echoes in the Dust runs from 1 July to 2 July in Quilpie, for more information visit the Queensland Music Trails website. 

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