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The Australian Centre of UNIMA was founded in Sydney, 1970 by Edith Murray and Norman Heatherington. Norman was famous in Australia for his television puppetry, spanning over 40 years. He also designed the UNIMA Australia logo.

In the following years, the Centre moved to Melbourne,Australia’s second largest city, with Axel Axelrad as President. Axel helped establish the UNIMA Centre of New Zealand. Both Norman and Axel were made honorary members of UNIMA.

In 2004, UNIMA Australia became an incorporation in order to assist hosting the 20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival, Perth, 2008. This was the fist time the UNIMA Congress was held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Recently, the Australian Centre of UNIMA moved back to Sydney.


The current Committee of UNIMA Australia has six volunteer members living in different states. It has five meetings a year including an Annual General Meeting. Skype is used to overcome the large distances that separate us.

President: Richard Hart,

General Secretary: Kay Yasugi

Treasurer: Tony Riggio

Other members: Keith Preston, Leon Hendroff and Sue Wallace.


To benefit members, UNIMA Australia runs training workshops, events, gatherings, a contact network along with a regular email newsletter. Twice a year, we publish an online magazine called UNIMA OZ which includes videos of performances. Once a year, we offer a training scholarship to members.


The geographic location ofAustraliaputs us firmly in the Asia Pacific and our UNIMA Centre is keen to continue and grow our relationship with the puppetry arts in this region. We see the Asia Pacific Commission as a wonderful opportunity to develop this aim. We will continue to update our information on the A.P.C. website.

Our long standing Asia Pacific representative, Jennie Pfeiffer, has stepped down from her role. We are very grateful for all the voluntary work she has done over the years, helping develop a strong friendship with puppeteers in our region.

Welcome to our new representative, Tony Riggio. I am sure he will be an excellent replacement.


Australian Puppetry borrows from many different traditions, a melting pot of styles and innovations. While we are strong on innovation, we would also benefit from the highly developed skills of Asian cultures. Australian puppeteers regularly travel and perform around the world and we would also like to see more puppet theatre visit Australia.


I have been President of UNIMA Australia for almost a year, but my involvement spans many years in different roles on the Committee. Like many of us, I have been a fully professional puppeteer for well over 25 years and look forward with enthusiasm to our future involvement with the Asia Pacific Commission.


Richard Hart


UNIMA AUSTRALIA Inc.  No. A0045823



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