FirstHand Emergent Puppetry Artist Training Program

Intensive skills training and mentorship for emergent puppetry artists

The FirstHand Puppetry Emergent Artist Training Program supports emergent artists to develop their skills within the art form of puppetry.

It immerses the participants in all aspects of the creation and performance of puppetry including a two-week intensive skills training period, support through a creative development process, business skills and training, and presentation opportunities. As part of the FirstHand program each was mentored by Spare Parts’ artistic leaders, received a $3,000 seed fund to develop a puppetry project and held a fee-free position in the company’s two-week intensive skills training program.

The 2017 FirstHand Emergent Puppetry Artists

Clare Testoni


Clare is a writer, actor, and shadow artist. She made her theatrical debut in Deborah Oswald’s Stories in The Dark in 2007 with ATYP, which was the first time she combined her loves of folktales, puppetry, and theatre. Clare is currently a part of Black Swan’s Emerging Writers Program, with her her play for the program Heed The Spark also receiving development with Playwriting Australia. Clare has previously performed her shadow play and storytelling shows at The State Library of NSW and for The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus.

Her children’s shadow puppet show West of The Moon premiered this year at The Blue Room Theatre, as part of Summer Nights. Clare also hosts the podcast Singing Bones which examines the history of fairy tales. Originally from Sydney, Clare is currently based in Fremantle, where she is learning how to be a mermaid.

Daniel Dosek

daniel-dosek-head-shotDaniel Dosek is an emerging artist and theatre maker based in Perth, Western Australia, and a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, with a Bachelor of Performing Arts majoring in Performance Making. In 2016, Daniel spent 9 weeks at the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore, studying the ancient Sanskrit Theatre Kutiyattum under the tutelage of Gopalan Nair Venu. In performance, Daniel is attracted to utilising comedy in order to create work that has been described as insightful, cheeky and subversive. Daniel’s interpretation of contemporary social themes and popular culture gives his work a strong and relevant trajectory.

Daniel works predominant as a performer and deviser, working on projects such as his graduate show, dystopian sci-fi comedy The Colony for the miniature theatre festival TILT, and Come On Down, a site specific comedy for Fringe World Perth 2017, where he also led the project as producer.

Tristan McInnes

tristan-mcinnes-head-shotTristan McInnes is a Perth-based actor and deviser, and has been working in theatre for the past seven years. He helped create The Emergence Company’s award-winning debut, Under This Sun (2015) and The Cutting Room Floor’s What’s Love Got to Do With It (2016). He came, back from a wild tour of the Melbourne Fringe with Rorschach Beasts Girl In The Wood, after its award winning first run at Fringeworld 2015, and last year he pulled off a double-billed run of TANK (2016) and Porto (2016) at the Blue Room Theatre. He is excited to play a leading role in the 2017 Subiaco Arts Festival season of 10,000.

Tristan is on the brink of graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Theatre Arts, and is already  one of the most critically acclaimed young independent artists in Perth.



In 2016, four of Perth’s most exciting independent emergent artists were selected for the FirstHand program, including recent WAAPA graduates Zoe Hollyoak and Rachael Woodward, along with Finn O’Branagáin and Rhiannon Petersen.

In 2015, Humphrey Bower, Yvan Karlsson and Sam Longley joined an impressive alumni of FirstHand artists. Yvan Karlsson since went on to perform in Splat!  in July 2016 and has been cast for the premiere season of Nobody Owns the Moon for October 2016. Sam Longley continues development of his puppetry work Gareth of The Antarctic which was announced as one of the first successful projects of The Blue Room Theatre’s LOFT initiative.

Other graduates include Chloe Flockart, nominated in the 2015 Performing Arts Awards for Best Actress for Farm, St John Cowcher has toured internationally with The Adventure’s of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, and Bec Bradley, also nominated in the 2015 PAWA Awards for her role in Farm.

For information on other opportunities or our two-week puppetry training intensive or contact Rebecca Nelson on

"The mentoring and training I received through Firsthand has given me a huge head start to my career. I have met many fantastic artists who I can now call on for advice or look to for future collaboration."
- FirstHand Graduate, 2011