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Martin Kenny's blog

KneeHIGH Puppets

A KneeHIGH Puppet spins Michael's propeller while Theen looks on

Last weekend we went to the Adelaide Zoo for the closing event of the children’s festival known as “Come Out”. We watched a number of musical events with an environmental or animal theme, put on by primary school children, but the highlight of the visit was an appearance by the “KneeHIGH Puppets”.

From their name we imagined these would be puppets that were, well, knee-high. We couldn’t have been more wrong. These guys are enormous! A family of three – two adults and a child came sauntering into view. The child was probably a normal sized adult, but the two parents were at least three metres (about 10 feet) high.

They mingled through the crowd interacting in different ways with adults and children. The thought on everybody’s mind seemed to be how did they work; they were so agile and had such fine motor-skills (the father picked Michael’s propeller hat off his head, gave it a spin, and then deftly replaced it). They were able to bend right down to talk to kids, and were strong enough to pick other children up. The clue to their operation was, as Michael said, “when they walk you can hear electric things in their feet”. Clearly they were part people, part robot. To quote from the KneeHIGH website:

Knee High Puppeteers is a company of multi skilled people specialising in visually spectacular outdoor puppetry for major events. We have a common background in circus and theatre, particularly in design and performance. Diversity is a unique feature of the company with practical experience in mechanics, electronics, sculpture, theatre design and construction, pyrotechnics, circus skills and puppetry.

Anyway, whatever they are, they’re very cool, and certainly made our day.