Wellington Scoop

Jim Henson events announced, as part of Retrospectacle


News from Square Eyes Film Foundation
Behind the Seams events with international experts have been announced for the Jim Henson Retrospectacle in Wellington in April, along with additional tickets to all four concerts. Tickets for the events are on sale from 9 am today.

These Behind the Seams event details complete the full line-up of events which will celebrate the life and legacy of Jim Henson. The Jim Henson Retrospectacle is a one-off series of not-for-profit events co-presented by Square Eyes Film Foundation and the Jim Henson Legacy with generous support from the Major Events Development Fund, WREDA and the Wellington City Council.

Behind the Seams events are ticketed (unless indicated) and are the opportunity for the public to hear from, and meet, Jim Henson’s colleagues, collaborators and friends, those carrying on his legacy, and those inspired by Jim’s worlds here in New Zealand.

Details of the Behind the Seams events are:

Meet and Greet with Bonnie Erickson

Come and share your own creations with Bonnie Erickson, puppet and mascot design and builder extraordinaire, and Ben Hawker and Johnny Fraser-Allen, senior designers at Weta Workshop.

Bonnie Erickson designed, built and named the inimitable original Miss Piggy, and is the designer responsible for many other iconic Muppets, including the cantankerous Statler and Waldorf. Bonnie, Ben and Johnny are looking forward to meeting you and your creations one-on-one.

Saturday 14 April 3.30pm
Te Marae at Te Papa
Duration: 60 minutes.
Cost: FREE

Becoming Real: A Muppeteer’s Journey With Dave Goelz

Meet veteran Muppet performer Dave Goelz who has been bringing life to characters – including The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Uncle Traveling Matt, Boober Fraggle and many more – for more than forty years. Dave shares his challenges, successes, and experience in creating life-like, lovable puppet characters, from concept to construction to performance.

Sunday 15 April 3.30pm
Te Papa
Duration: 90 minutes.
Cost: $30

Celebrating Jim Henson

Colleagues, collaborators, and friends come together to participate in a wide-ranging and intimate conversation about Jim’s unique contribution to the world. Projects discussed will include The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Muppet Movie, and more. The panel will include Bonnie Erickson, Muppet designer; Arthur Novell, Jim’s Public Relations manager throught the 80s; puppeteers Karen Prell and Carmen Oshbahr whose careers were nurtured by Jim; and lead Muppet collaborator and principal Muppet performer for over 40 years, Dave Goelz. These guests will sit in conversation with Craig Shemin, President of The Jim Henson Legacy and former Jim Henson Company staff writer.

Sunday 29 April 3.30pm
Te Papa
Duration: 75 minutes.
Cost: $30

The Art of Television Puppetry Masterclass with the Performers of Sesame Street

Learn the secrets of how Sesame Street performers bring characters to life in a presentation that talks the puppet talk and walks the puppet walk. Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, Peter Linz and Carmen Osbahr will share a few on-set stories and favourite personal insights about character creation – shining a rare spotlight on their puppeteering lives

Sunday 22 April 3.30pm
Te Papa
Duration: 90 minutes.
Cost: $30

Pop-Up Puppet Workshop

Ideal for ages 6-12

A hands-on workshop where participants make their very own puppets out of everyday objects – with a little help from googly eyes, funny noses, feathers, and fuzzy fur. Then take part in an interactive performance workshop led by acclaimed New Zealand-based puppeteers Jeremy Dillon and Sarah Thomson (Moe and Fern from The Moe Show). Jeremy and Sarah have both trained with Peter Linz, one of the esteemed Retrospectacle guests.

Saturday 14, Saturday 21 10.30 am
Te Papa
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: $60 per person

There are three industry events with limited availability for those who want a more practitioner-focused perspective. These are:

Bonnie Erickson: The Woman Behind Miss Piggy
Join Bonnie Erickson – key collaborator and member of the original design team for The Muppet Show. She created crowd favourites such as Miss Piggy, and Statler and Waldorf, and multiple other characters across a range of Jim Henson productions.

Tuesday 17 April, 6.30pm
Park Road Post
Cost: $40 per person

Dave Goelz & Karen Prell in Conversation
Meet Dave Goelz, puppet designer and Emmy Award-winning principal Muppet performer of characters such as Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, for over 40 years, and Karen Prell, puppeteer for such Henson favourites as Red from Fraggle Rock and the worm from Labyrinth, who first started working with Jim Henson in 1980.

Thursday 19 April, 6.30pm
Park Road Post
Cost: $40 per person

Extending and Honouring Jim’s Legacy
Join the remarkable performers of iconic Muppet and Sesame Street characters. Master puppeteers and performers, Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, Carmen Osbahr and Peter Linz reflect on what Jim Henson’s legacy means to them as they work to honour Jim’s vision through sharing his extraordinary creations with today’s audiences.

Monday 23 April, 6.30pm
Park Road Post
Cost: $40 per person

The 21-day showcase of events paying tribute to Jim Henson, one of the world’s most creative, prolific and innovative film and puppetry artists, will take place in Wellington. A film fortnight series, workshops and master classes, with visiting puppeteers from Sesame Street and The Muppets, will run as part of the full Retrospectacle. The programme concludes with an intimate NZSO concert featuring Oscar-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie– with special appearances by some of Jim Henson’s much-loved characters.

The concert performances will take place during the final weekend at the Michael Fowler Centre — on Friday 27 April and Saturday 28 April — coinciding with the school holidays.

Tickets for The Jim Henson Retrospectacle events are on sale from 9 am through Ticketmaster.