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2009 Event Media Release - Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes

Media Release

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes in
Billy Twinkle
Requiem for a Golden Boy

1 – 16 October

Created and performed by Ronnie Burkett
Music by John Alcorn | Lighting Design by Kevin Humphrey

…the smallest actors in the world will pull your heart strings…..

"Burkett manipulates his marionettes in ways that not only amaze but actually make you think about the meaning of life” The Guardian, London

“A pinch-me moment of extraordinary technical virtuosity…fabulous.” Edmonton Journal, Canada

“Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy is a thing of beauty, carved out with love, compassion and humility.” Vancouver Courier

International acclaimed master puppeteer Ronnie Burkett and his Theatre of Marionettes, return to Sydney Opera House with his latest show, Billy Twinkle – Requiem for a Golden Boy, 1–16 October.

Last seen in Sydney with Ten Days on Earth, Burkett’s new show is full of the hustle and bustle of the life and times of Billy Twinkle. A successful cruise-ship puppeteer, Billy is fired from his job for taking things a little too far and insulting some passengers.  The woeful Billy contemplates leaping to a watery grave before he is stopped by the appearance of the ghost of his dead mentor, Sid Diamond.

Billy and Sid had a tumultuous relationship, which culminated in a heated argument, but now Sid challenges Billy to reassess his life as a means to remembering the passions he once had for people and his puppets, as well as his dream of a life that sparkles. From Billy’s beginnings as a truckstop puppeteer to his repertoire of characters including the luscious Biddy Bantum, the snotty-nosed Benjy and the burlesque stripper Rusty Knockers, Sid cajoles him into looking back at the wonder of his youth and reconciling it with the knowledge of his middle-age.

Semi-biographical of Burkett’s own life, Billy Twinkle is a story of puppets and puppeteers, and of artists and their art. Throughout the show, Burkett is present as the sole puppeteer, manipulating a multitude of beautifully crafted marionettes and providing all the voices.

One of Canada’s living legends, Ronnie Burkett produces some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry and, in doing so, has created an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre. This one man virtuoso of breathtaking skill and nimble artistry writes and performs singular works which showcase his well-rounded performance talents.

The joy of watching Burkett is in the way he lets the seams of his magic-making show. His mastery of marionettes and his vocal gymnastics create the illusion of an epic. With nimble hands flashing as he manipulates the strings, he reveals himself to be a showman in the true sense of the word. Because of his superb technique – Burkett seems to transmit his own life force into the marionettes.

Captivated by puppetry since the age of seven, Burkett received a puppetry scholarship to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City at fourteen, after which the single minded teen began touring his own puppet shows.

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986, dedicated to returning the puppet to the legitimate stage in theatre for adults. The company's first work was Fool's Edge, followed by Virtue Falls, The Punch Club and Awful Manors, all satirical and bawdy works aimed at an adult audience. In 1994, Burkett became an international star with the Theatre of Marionettes production of Tinka's New Dress.

Burkett has earned numerous theatre awards in Canada and internationally - the 2003 Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, the 1998 Freedom of Expression Award from Calgary’s Wordfest Writer’s Festival and the 2001 President's Award from The Puppeteers of America, the highest honour in American puppetry. In 1999, Tinka and Burkett received a special citation at the Obie (Off-Broadway) Awards.

Mixing the personal and political, Burkett’s Theatre of Marionettes continuously performs to great critical and public acclaim on Canada’s major stages and as a guest company at international theatre festivals.

Exploring the line between art and life, his offbeat wit and visual charm plumb the highs and lows of the human experience, creating an exotic stage universe of humanity and compassion.

Media Enquiries: Claire Vince, Senior Publicist
(02) 9250 7825 / 0401 711 531 /

Please note: this production is not recommended for children under the age of 14.

Sydney Season Details
Dates/Times: 1 – 16 October, 8pm
Venue: Playhouse
Tickets:  $39 - $49
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online at

Melbourne Season Details
 3 – 20 September, 8pm
Venue:  the Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio
Tickets:   $65 - $40
Bookings:*, 1300 182 183* or at the Arts Centre Box Office
Box office and telephone bookings only. Proof of ID required

Commissioned by The Citadel Theatre (Edmonton, Canada) and
Co-commissioned by
Canada's National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada)
The Vancouver East Cultural Centre (Vancouver,Canada),
The Arts Centre (Melbourne, Australia)
Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)
barbicanbite09 (London, UK)

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes is represented internationally by
John Lambert & Assoc., Montreal, Canada (



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