Pico’s Puppet Palace was established in 2016, by Sally Miller and Jesse Hamilton. Sally and Jesse have been performing together since 2002 in various musical and theatrical collaborations, as folk duo Nice Verdes, as musical and dance performers in a number of performance groups including Telema Bii, Djef Djel, and African Soul, and as puppeteers with Pico’s Puppet Palace. They draw on their wealth of skills drawn from formal training, for example through ACArts, Flinders University, and ZenZenZo Theatre Company; from professional collaborations, for example with Restless Dance Company, Ranters Theatre Company and Chopt Logic Theatre Company; as well as industry partnerships, for example with Evelyn Roth Festival Arts with whom they created performances combining puppetry and inflatable, interactive art installations.
Sally and Jesse create puppets and sets for Pico’s Puppet Palace from a wide variety of reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. Each show is an episode of Pico’s adventures and introduces ecological and environmental issues, innovations, and ideas, and hence the use of these recycled materials is aligned with the ethos of the show overall. They use these varied mediums to produce both puppets and sets, and they draw on their extensive experience creating with glass, a variety of repurposed fabrics from old toys or clothes, papier mâché, wood, plastic, metal, and other found materials. Jesse’s in-depth knowledge of mechanics and building informs their production of intricate puppets with multiple moving parts. Sally’s skill as an actor and physical performer adds to their creation of lively and lifelike puppets to enthral and inspire curiosity in audiences both young and old. Their puppets include full body puppets and costumes, hand and rod puppets, sock puppets and muppets, mechanical sculptures that can be moved by the puppeteer, shadow puppetry, and more.