No strings attached

Artists, make your mark on Melbourne’s vibrant creative landscape through our annual arts grants program.

With more than $800,000 up for grabs, applications are welcomed from across all disciplines, including performance art, music, dance, theatre and visual art.

Sarah Kreigler from Lemony S Puppet Theatre received a grant in 2017 to stage the second Melbourne Festival of Puppetry, attracting 63 artists from all over the world and sell-out audiences.

‘Puppetry is called theatre of the impossible as it allows you to do all sorts of things on stage that you can’t manage in other ways, from the very big to the very small,’ Sarah said.

‘When you watch puppetry, you have to suspend your disbelief in different ways, disassociating from your logical mind and going into this play area that you can access easily when you are a child.

‘So puppets can transport even adults into a completely new realm.’

Since its inception, the Melbourne Festival of Puppetry has offered a vibrant program of performances and workshops for all ages, strongly supported by the iconic La Mama Theatre in Carlton.

After a nerve-racking but highly successful debut without funding, the team was able to take the 2017 festival to the next level with support from the City of Melbourne, Creative Victoria and animatronics experts from Port Melbourne’s Creature Technology Company.

‘Puppets can transport even adults into a completely new realm.’

‘Australia has an incredible puppetry scene – it’s irreverent, moving, often political, and very funny,’ Sarah said.

‘Many puppeteers work non-stop in small businesses, touring to schools, festivals and playgroups 30 weeks of the year, but they are lesser known to the wider arts industry.

‘This festival brings all of that talent to the fore.’

Sarah encouraged other artists to consider applying for the arts grants program.

‘Our goals around participation, encouraging new audiences and the environment all fitted so well with the criteria of the grants program that it became kind of easy to write the application,’ Sarah said.

‘The grant also gave us promotional leverage through the City of Melbourne’s channels, and I’m quite sure that’s how a lot of our audience found us.’

The next Melbourne Puppetry Festival will be held in 2019.

To find out more, visit Annual arts grants.


  • Arts grant applications are open from Monday 30 April to Monday 28 May, for projects happening in 2019.
  • A series of workshops and briefings are on offer to help artists apply.
  • Artists early in their creative journeys and those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • A number of residencies are also available.
A man with a bird puppet

Puppeteers came from around the world