BATS Theatre, The Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

15/09/2023 - 17/09/2023

TAHI Festival 2023

Production Details

Anna Bailey - puppet build and design
Struan Ashby - set design and construction
Stephanie Cairns - Music composition and sound design


A bat who is afraid of the dark meets a glow worm who thinks she is a star. Friendship triumphs fear as the glow worm leads the bat out of darkness and together they fly.

This show is a work in development, inspired by conversations with children during workshops at Zealandia about their fear of the dark and the real threats that our native species face from introduced pests. Through shadow puppetry, we explored how the dark can make the familiar seem strange and frightening. Their words and the art and images they created will feed into this work.

Join this courageous short-tailed bat, and his new glow worm friend as they face his fears and delve into the shadows, discovering the light on the other side.

Made with the support of the Philipp Family Foundation

A social story for the relaxed performance of Flutter will be available online closer to the time. Check back here soon.

Flutter is perfect for families with children aged between 3 and 7 years old

When: Friday 15 September – 10am
Saturday 16 September – 10am & 1pm

Where: The Stage, BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Mt Victoria

Price: $10

Duration: 30 minutes

Book here: https://www.tahifestivalnz.com/flutter

Anna Bailey - puppeteer
Gillian Hanemayer - Lighting Designer
Joseph Bailey - Electrical Wiring
Jimmy Williamson - Production Management Intern

Children’s , Family , Puppetry , Theatre ,

30 min

Delightful, informative and entertaining for young and old alike

Review by Shemaia Dixon 16th Sep 2023

As we take our seats, children and parents are welcomed by a beautiful fluttering bird puppet. It fills the audience with a joy that only increases as the show progresses.

The set, designed and constructed by Struan Ashby, is compact. The rolling hills complete with native fauna set the scene while lights along the stream immediately entice the audience. Puppeteer and puppet builder Anna Bailey asks the settling children if the puppets may approach them, creating a calm atmosphere before her relaxed performance.

Flutter is an experience that has the children wondering what’s going to happen next It displays a beautiful friendship between the characters Pepe (a pekapeka / short tailed bat) and Titi (a titiwai /glowworm). The Dactylanthus plant features as Pepe’s food source as it fascinatingly emerges from the ground. Each puppet is a testament to Anna Baileys master craftmanship.

A particular highlight is Titi’s glowing tail and head which brings gasps of delight from the children whenever they are alight. Titi’s journey through the audience fascinates the children and makes even adults laugh. The characters make many sounds but say almost nothing aside from their own names, and certainly no words are needed. Anna’s sound effects and puppetry effectively communicate the story.

The Stoat’s arrival elicits a gasp from the audience. Its glowing red eyes and evil laugh combine with Stephanie Carins’ sound design to immediately and effectively communicate the character’s role in the story. Gillian Hanemayer’s lighting design draws out gasps of “Wow!” from the young audience as the show progresses.

After the show Anna explains to the audience the real danger Aotearoa’s native Pekapeka, Titiwai and Dactylanthus are under and brings attention to the community groups around Wellington making an effort to protect these native species. Anna then shows the audience how to make a simple worm puppet. Throughout the experience, Anna wonderfully engages the children while communicating the importance of protecting our native species.

Flutter is a delightful experience that is informative and entertaining for young and old alike.


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Important to everyone and especially relevant now

Review by Margaret Austin 16th Sep 2023

This play at BATS Stage has a powerful message to deliver. It doesn’t feature human characters and there is no dialogue. On the stage we see a tree, a moon, and a stream.  We are being set up to learn something. 

String Bean Puppets are behind Flutter, a presentation that’s part of the Tahi Festival. The solo ‘performer’ here is Anna Bailey, a puppeteer with a passion for the unique flora and fauna of Aotearoa. She brings to the stage her four ‘characters’ on strings.

The main character is Pepe, a short-tailed bat. We first hear him as he snores in his usual sleeping spot in a tree stump. It’s night time, and once Pepe wakes up and ventures out we realise he is scared of the noises he hears. But then along comes Titi, a glow worm. She encourages and befriends the nervous Pepe. She undulates before him, glowing appropriately. They dance together. Lilting piano sound enhances the mood.

Now we meet a strange looking plant, a Dactylanthus, food source for our friend the Bat. Another lesson. And most startling of all, a Stoat appears – red-eyed and scary.

In a post-show story, Anna explains the danger to Aotearoa’s plants and animals. The story and characters in Flutter are both a reminder and a warning. A reminder of nature and the plants and animals that inhabit it and of their inter dependence. A warning that we tolerate predators at our peril. Our puppeteer is present throughout, skilfully manipulating first one pair of characters, then another to illustrate her theme.

This is a production important to everyone and especially relevant now. Everyone involved in it should be pleased and proud of the result. Puppet builder Anna Bailey of course, but also director/dramaturg Jenny McArthur, set designer Struan Ashby and composer Stephanie Cairns.


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Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council