Program from Peter Scriven's 1958 production of 'Little fella bindi'. The program has a brown cover and a large photograph of the puppet 'Little fella Bindi' holding hands with a possum. This was Scriven's second major puppet musical, and it was inspired by a newspaper article about an Aboriginal boy found alone in the desert. The show remained a personal favourite of Scriven's, although he was later to remark that 'Bindi was rather like having a son you can't stand but put up with because he is part of you'.

The story begins 'Long Ago in the Dreamtime' with Bindi, 'the last of his tribe', playing happily among the native animals until he realises that he must leave them to join 'Human' (read European settler) society. The finale had a uniformed Bindi marching off to school as the alphabet is intoned over a refrain of the Dreamtime song from the show's overture. Bindi's good friend. Gaga the wombat, is left alone on the stage, abandoned and uncomprehending, before he scampers offstage to rejoin his kind. Apart from Bindi and the animal cast, the show also starred 'the tintookies' who, in both form and function, now more closely resembled the 'native' sprites of supposed legend. 'Little Fella Bindi' premiered at Her Majesty's Theatre in Brisbane in 1958.

Physical Description

Paper program stapled in centre, from Peter Scriven's 1958 production of 'Little fella bindi' with a brown cover and a large photograph of the puppets:"Little fella Bindi" holding hands with a possum.


The significance of this program lies in the changes made by Peter Scriven and the "Tintookies" to Australian puppetry. Peter Scriven has been credited with making puppetry an art form in Australia. In 1953 he founded Peter Scriven Puppets, but soon tired of the standard adaptations from European fairy stories. He created the 'tintookies' the little people who live in the sandhills in response. The Tintookies debuted in an extravagantly mounted musical comedy enacted by a cast of large-scale marionettes, with music by Kurt Herweg and book and lyrics by Hal Saunders. The show premiered at the Elizabethan Theatre in Newtown on 12 June 1956.

The Tintookies revolutionised Australian puppetry: it was a full-length production on a scale grand enough to be at home in a large theatre, yet it could travel easily; it employed a team of seven manipulators plus assorted support staff; it was performed to a soundtrack recorded by a full orchestra, chorus and leading singers and actors. After the success of this production, Tintookie became the generic name for any of the puppets used by the Marionette Theatre of Australia which was formed by Scriven in 1965. The Theatre produced innovative large-scale puppet shows with an overtly Australian content for children for more than 20 years, including the landmark productions 'Little Fella Bindi' (1958) and Norman Lindsay's 'The Magic Pudding' (1960).

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