Spike: The Echidna

"The children were excited and engaged throughout the performance. There was lots of laughter. Teachers were impressed by the quality of the performance and the message of the story. Thank you Jenny for providing a high quality, fun Book Week performance for our students. 10/10"
~ Phillipa Moran, Assistant Principal, Epping Heights Primary School

Spike is the story of an echidna who is stolen from his nest by a greedy rat. He hatches from his egg far away from home. A young girl finds him. She is playing alone in the bush because she is being bullied by other children. He has no spikes yet and she doesn’t know what kind of creature he is. She tries to work out where he comes from, but accidently puts him in dangerous situations – in the nest of a crocodile, an emu and a turtle. He feels frightened, rejected, alone. As the story unfolds, she helps him to discover where he belongs, and he helps her to find her own “spikes” and stand up to the bullies.
Told through the art form of contemporary shadow theatre, Spike is an interactive experience for the audience, with lively original music by the ebulliently eclectic Mal Webb. It is entertaining and fun, as well as a catalyst for a discussion about difference and belonging. It also has an environmental theme, being about the unique biology of Australian animals, especially the egg-laying echidna. After the performance there is a demonstration of shadow puppetry techniques, introducing children to an expressive hands-on story-telling medium that is most accessible to young people.

Spike was written in collaboration with acclaimed author Anne Brooksbank, whose work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Books 2012 .Spike has been created under the mentorship of Richard Bradshaw, an internationally regarded puppeteer who has received an Order of Australia for Service to the Arts; and Fabrizio Montecchi, of Italy’s world renowned shadow theatre company Teatro Gioca Vita.

Written by Jenny Ellis & Anne Brooksbank Directed by Jacob Williams & Clare Batholomew
Original music by Mal Webb
Puppetry mentoring by Richard Bradshaw & Fabrizio Montecchi
Puppets and set by Jenny Ellis, Lauren Redpath, Freya Pitt & Nick Wollan
Recommended age: 4 -10 years old
Set up time: 90 mins
Pack up time: 60 mins
Venue: Due to the nature of shadow puppetry, the venue needs to be dark.

This project was proudly commissioned by the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation and supported by Regional Arts Victoria.


Spike 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. www.jumpmentoring.com.au