Tony Hannan

>Creative Practice

“For the last 30 years I have worked across artforms, mostly in community.

Often in professional performance. Almost always in non traditional spaces. Mostly outdoors.

I have developed skills in designing and making giant puppets, parade floats, banners, flags, screen printing, lanterns, stilts, nylon and polythene large inflatables, fire murals and articulated fire puppets, clay animation, environmental installation and community event design and management.

For 17 years, I developed new media and projects as founder and AD of kneeHIGH puppeteers.(khp)

Now I have a new practice as a solo practitioner, collaborating with colleagues as needed.

I particularly enjoy passing on skills and working with younger and emerging artists. To aid this I recently acquired a Cert. 4 in training and Assessment.”



Tony trained as a community youth worker, studied buddhism and discovered community development, then community arts in Brisbane. He is a founding member of Queensland Community Arts Network, Street Arts (Qld), co-founder of Queensland Childrens’ Activities Network and West End Childrens Activities.

He is a graduate of the first Nanjing Acrobatic (Circus) Project, co-produced by Flying Fruitfly Circus and Circus Oz. Shortly after he co-founded Cirkidz, Adelaide’s Youth Circus school. Interested in the power of stilt giants in 1995 he co-founded kneeHIGH puppeteers.

In 2011 resigned as AD to pursue his personal creative practice and to teach.

>Longer CV

Tony has been an innovator in Australian CCD, community arts practice, spectacle and processional theatre in Brisbane and Adelaide for over 30 years. Tony is a skilled community arts practitioner, designer, props maker and producer of outdoor spectacle. He has engineered new developments in stilt design, animated fire puppets and inflatable construction. He is the founder of Cirkidz, Adelaide's youth circus school  and performing troupe and in 1995 founded Kneehigh Puppeteers. He is influenced by work with Neil Cameron,  Sue Gill and John Fox of Welfare State(UK) and Peter Schumann of Bread and Puppet (USA) Peter Minshall, Reg Bolton and Ian Reece.


2012 Artistic Director of the Adelaide Australia Day Parade and Event.

1995-2012 work with kneeHIGH puppeteers

2008-2012 produced the community  float  building workshops for the Australia Day Parade in Adelaide.

2009 he was commissioned by Comeout '09 to produce Don't Push That Button at the Playhouse.

2008/ 09 commissioned to create the immersive inflatable venues for children for the Adelaide Fringe.

2008 led the artist  residency at the Bundaleer Forest  Festival.

2006 lead artist and parade float consultant for the 2006 Fringe parade

2005 produced The Tower for Comeout '05.

2003/4 produced the Family From Away, at Comeout ‘03, Womad ‘04

2002, 2004 he was co-ordinating designer of the mammoth Adelaide Fringe Parade

2001 Designer, coordinating community artist inaugural Festival of the Coast for the City of Charles Sturt.

2000 Co-ordinating Artist Hi Beam Festival Parade.

2000 commissioned to work with the local community to design and produce water based fire sculptures in Christmas Cove, for the 'Plently' Event, on Kangaroo ilsand for the Adelaide Festival

1999, Artistic Director of the  Barossa end-of-millennium Click! Event at Tanunda,

1999 Director and leading designer for the inaugural Berri Fluviafest

1995 founded kneeHIGH puppeteers. KneeHIGH has now performed in every major Australian city and in 17 countries.

For KneeHIGH he led 3 European summer tours and tours to Japan and China.  He has an excellent working knowledge of international spectacle theatre through touring, workshops and research.


2006 Artist: Clay animation movie project Flinders Medical Centre

2011 Artist: Aberfoyle Hub Library Mural project.

Pre kneeHIGH

1985 founder of Cirkidz, Adelaide's youth circus school and circus theatre.

1982 Founding member: Brisbane Community Arts Network

1982 Founding member West End “Do it yourself” bush band

1982 Co founded West End Children’s Activities Centre

1981 Founding member  Street Arts Inc. and Thrills and Spills Circus Troupe

1981 Co- founded Queensland Childrens Activities Network

1981 Board member: East Brisbane Community Centre  Activities included legal service, childcare centre, out of hours kids activities programme, community arts programme, social work.

1980 Manager: Bodhicitta House Tibetan Buddhist Centre Brisbane


Tony has developed expertise working in a diverse range of media:  electronics, water based sculptures, giant papier mache images, pneumatics, animatronics, large scale nylon and polythene inflatables, pyro puppetry, aerial helium balloon displays, rigging and crane technology. 


Diploma in Community Welfare majoring in Youth Work.

Graduate of the First Nanjing Acrobatic Project produced by Circus Oz and Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment.

Workshops with : Peter Minshal (parade images), Neil Cameron (spectacle theatre), John Fox and Sue Gill(community celebration), Joey Ruigrok (large spectacle design), Lindsay Kemp (dance), Brian Ando(tightrope), Ian Reece(stilts)