Image: Peter Mathew

Matter Era

Terrapin and Tim Spooner

Based in Tasmania, Terrapin creates contemporary puppetry for intergenerational audiences in theatres, galleries, public spaces, schools and aged care settings. Making works of narrative and installations, the company has been presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, DeBetovering (the Netherlands), Aichi Prefectural Art Theater (Japan), the Taipei Children’s Art Festival, the Lincoln Center and major multi-artform festivals around Australia. In 2019, their participatory installation Infinite Monster opened the REACH at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Tim Spooner works in a mix of performance, painting, sculpture and installation, aiming for new strong flavours which are strange and alluring. Fundamentally interested in unpredictability, his work is an exercise in balancing control with a lack of it in the handling of the materials and processes he is working with.

His work has been presented extensively in theatres and galleries in the UK, Europe and Asia. He’s currently working towards a major solo exhibition of new and old work, opening at Southwark Park Galleries in London this summer.

Artsadmin (UK) is a company of creative people working with artists to develop and make performance projects for local, national and international audiences. Their work and projects explore the areas between social and environmental justice, the hyper-local and the international. The companies current projects include Up in Arms by Anna-Maria Nabirye and Annie Saunders and The Making of Pinnochio by Cade and MacAskill.


Matter Era stages the speculative evolution of post-human life in a radical ode to the physical. An installation performance taking place over six hours, this work of experimental puppetry leverages the ability of the artform to create a world that is alive but without people in it.

During the performance, material lifeforms evolve and interact, perpetually combining and separating to form new beings. As audiences move around to view the work from all sides, these lifeforms combine into one alien mass that fills the 5m x 5m space. This creation can then remain in place as an installation subsequent to the performance. Audiences can come and go as they wish, staying to watch minutes or hours of the performance. Three unseen performers will animate the work continuously over the six-hour span.

An international collaboration between Terrapin (Tasmania) and Tim Spooner (UK), working with Artsadmin as the producer for the UK and Europe, Matter Era features no language and is to be performed for intergenerational audiences at festivals in galleries, indoor open spaces and on theatre stages.

The work has been developed through an Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grant which funded a two-stage creative development. A stage one development at Artsadmin Toynbee Studios in London was undertaken in August 2022, with a subsequent development undertaken in Hobart, Tasmania in January 2023. We are seeking commissioning and presentation partners for seasons from 2024 onwards.

Session Times
PROFILE: Here’s Our Idea
Friday 9 June, 11:30am AEST


Sam Routledge