What I do
I am an actor and puppeteer. For the last year I have been working on a fantastic Australian dinosaur puppet show called Dinosaur Zoo. I am five different dinosaurs in the show, including the Australovenator; the Australian T-Rex. He is an awesome puppet that you kind of wear and control with your whole body. I also make the sounds for this dinosaur; my voice goes through a sound processor that turns every noise I make into a roar!
How I got my job
First and foremost, I had to be good at puppetry! Then it was a matter of finding anyone I knew who might be able to use the skills I had. I got the dinosaur gig through working with a director on a small puppet show. Years later she went on to become the director of the Norwich Puppet Theatre, which brought the dinosaurs to England from Australia. She then asked me if I wanted to be a dinosaur. I said yes!
What I love about my job
So many things! The puppets I get to work with are amazingly lifelike and challenging to control; it feels very satisfying to bring a dinosaur to life. It’s also really satisfying when you set up the show, perform it, and then leave the theatre knowing you’ve given audiences a uniquely enjoyable experience. Finally, but perhaps most important, the people I work with are really great fun and good to be around. If you don’t enjoy being with the people you work with, that job is not going to work!
What’s difficult about my job
Sometimes touring can be difficult, being away from home so much. It’s always interesting seeing different places, but I do miss my family and friends and being able to cook good, healthy food. It’s also hard work setting up and performing the show. Wearing the Australovenator is heavy work, but I like all of that because I enjoy sweating and getting fitter and stronger!
What skills I need
To be any kind of performer, you need to be comfortable on stage in front of an audience. You also need to have a good awareness of your body and the space around you.
Generally, performers should be physically fit and able to move freely, especially in puppetry. Then it’s about playing and moving in the way that character moves, whether it’s a seven-year-old boy playing in the garden or a dinosaur looking for its dinner!
What skills I need
Start by honing the skills needed, and then do it. Get on stage where you can, work with different people and learn from them. Seize opportunities, too!