The Owl's Apprentice: A young owl learning to be wise

A young owl has been sent to study with an older master, Mr. Tawny. He is angry and misses his family. He’s impatient, he throws tantrums, he sulks. He just wants to go home. He knows the only way he can go home is by gaining “wisdom” but he doesn’t even know what it is.

As part of his training he talks to other animals to learn what they think wisdom is. He talks to a wombat, who says it is about persistence. He talks to a kangaroo, who tells him it’s about listening carefully to what’s around you. He talks to a platypus, who tells him it’s about being flexible. He talks to a koala, who tells him to take things slowly.

On his way, he finds that wisdom isn’t just knowledge. It is knowledge learned from experience. Not just being guided by the lessons of the past, but being able to adapt to new situations. How can these things be wisdom? Isn’t wisdom just one thing? He is very confused. Mr. Tawny sets for him a test in which he must use all the wisdom he has gained from the animals to guide him. Will he get through?

The Owl’s Apprentice is an interactive solo show created by Jenny Ellis using a combination of shadow puppetry, hand puppetry and story-telling. The show is about our unique Australian animals as well as drawing on the field of applied ethics and the 16 Habits of Mind developed by Professor Art Costa. The Owl’s Apprentice poses questions to extend young minds.

Written, designed, made & performed by Jenny Ellis
Puppetry mentoring by Richard Bradshaw
Music by Kelly Ryall & Greg Sheehan
Directing by Jacob Williams & Clare Batholomew
Design consulting by Dayna Morrissey
Script consulting by Anne Brooksbank
Film by James Fleming

The Owl's Apprentice from Jenny Ellis on Vimeo.

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This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Jenny Ellis is currently being mentored by Richard Bradshaw through JUMP, the Australia Council's national mentoring program for young and emerging artists. In Victoria, JUMP is being delivered through Melbourne Fringe.