Spare Parts ‘early years’ program announces a new creative partnership with Minderoo Foundation

9 February, 2023

Minderoo Foundation partners with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre to inspire young minds.

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is delighted to announce a new partnership with Minderoo Foundation as the principal program partner for the company’s inaugural ‘early years’ puppetry program, Puppet Playtime. The program designed to ignite the imaginations of children aged 3-5 runs monthly at the company’s Fremantle home from February to November 2023, beginning February 21, and bookings are already nearing capacity.

Supported by Minderoo Foundation and developed in partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute, Puppet Playtime is an innovative and fun approach to nurturing the whole child at the most important stage of their development, addressing a real need for families searching for suitable, affordable, high-quality activities for early-aged children. Perfectly pitched for young minds and busy hands, Puppet Playtime is also gentle on the family budget with accompanying adults attending free of charge.

Artistic Director of Spare Parts, Philip Mitchell said the company is thrilled by the level of support that Minderoo Foundation is providing and what it will mean for the program and the many Western Australian families who have already booked their spots in the groundbreaking program.

“We are very excited that Puppet Playtime has caught people’s attention, and tremendously grateful to Minderoo Foundation for enabling such an innovative and much-needed program,” he said.

“Reading and storytelling with children promotes brain development and imagination, develops language and emotions, and strengthens relationships.” He said “it also has benefits for grown-ups. The special time you spend together promotes bonding and helps to build your relationship with your child.”

Minderoo Foundation’s Director of Arts & Culture, Ella McNeill, said they are delighted to support Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s Puppet Playtime program.

“The program will bring the wonder, imagination, and inspiration of art to our youngest West Australian kids. Having access to the arts is vitally important for our families and community, and the Puppet Playtime program will enable 3-5 year olds to participate in an affordable, high-quality artistic experience that will support their ongoing learning and development,” she said.

Puppet Playtime, is directed by acclaimed puppetry artist, Bec Bradley (The Velveteen Rabbit, Blueback, The One Who Planted Trees) and has been developed by in-house education specialist, Georgia Wesley. With a focus on early years engagement and education, the program celebrates early childhood through an abundance of creative storytelling, music, hands-on activities, interactive games, and lots of puppet play!

Each Puppet Playtime session sees a talented Spare Parts artist give a performed reading of the Book of the Month—brought to life with puppetry—to children and accompanying adults before unleashing their collective creativity through interaction, inclusive discussion, hands-on activities, and puppet-making.

Director of Puppet Playtime Bec Bradley said that the innovative program was specially designed to encourage curiosity and imagination in children as well as a range of developmental, social, and creative skills based on the latest Telethon Kids Institute research.

“Puppet Playtime is designed to develop key skills in young children such as language and communication, fine motor skills, and social-emotional intelligence,” she said. “Puppet Playtime is the perfect pathway from early childhood to the wonders of the theatre, and a wonderful introduction to imaginative playtime through the magic of puppetry.”

Puppet Playtime will run for the next ten months in 2023, and will be a rich, shared experience for children and adults alike of imaginative, creative ideas, high quality puppetry and fun-filled storytelling, The first sessions will be hosted by acclaimed performer Kylie Bywaters (Carnival of The Animals, Hachiko: the Loyal Dog, The Little Prince) on February 21 and 23 at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s Creative Learning Centre located at 1 Short Street, Fremantle opposite the Freo Train Station. The first Book of the Month is Maurice Sendak’s ever-popular Where the Wild Things Are.

Spots in the Puppet Playtime program are strictly limited for each session. Tickets are $10 per child. Accompanying adults attend for free! For bookings and further information, click here.

Puppet Playtime program partners:



Acknowledgement of Country

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land on which we work. As we tour our work across these vast lands, we pay our respect to all First Nations elders, past and present. We celebrate their continuing connection and contribution to culture, country and community, and thank all First Nations peoples for their wisdom in caring for the land, the sky, the rivers and the sea.