Guess How Much I Love You- The Stage Show

Client: CDP Theatre Producers

Date: January 2022

In late 2021, A Blanck Canvas built two gorgeous hare puppets for a new stage adaption of Sam McBratney’s beloved ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ books.

Transformed into an enchanting on-stage adventure, featuring Little and Big Nutbrown, CDP Theatre Productions, the team behind the Australian tours of The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Spot, entertained audiences yet again, by producing a show full of magic, colour and excitement.

Guess How Much I Love You is a best-selling children’s book illustrated by Anita Jeram. For over 25 years this timeless story has captured the hearts of children and adults alike, as well as having its own television series based on the heart-warming tales. The marvelous stage adaptation is currently touring Australia through 2022.

As with any project A Blanck Canvas created many prototypes for the client, and we are thrilled to share with you the final puppets. Meet the bespoke stars of the show, Little Nutbrown, and Big Nutbrown.

Little Nutbrown is a fully customised hand-made rod puppet, that stands just over a metre tall. With a sturdy yet lightweight aluminium and acrylic frame, he is made with a mixture of Hessian fabrics, custom-dyed faux fur, Lycra, foams, and mesh.

The little hare has over 3 layers of fabric used. It took 28 hours to individually hand-punch the faux fur through the holes of the hessian to achieve a realistic fur look, that grows in a natural looking direction.

Operated by one puppeteer, we designed Little Nutbrown to have maximum movement and be as emotive as possible to demonstrate all the suggestive gestures and postures from the books. We created him to be able to stretch out his arms, curl up his body and jump. This was done by creating many articulated mechanisms in his head, neck, legs, feet, shoulders, and elbows, as well as wired ears for manipulation.

Little Nutbrown is mainly operated as a rod puppet, yet also has handles in his head and back with triggers that allow the puppeteer to operate the ears in all directions to create optimal expressions.  

Big Nutbrown is a suit puppet, that stands just over 2 metres tall and is very similarly made to Little Nutbrown.

He has the same hand-sculpted PE Foam formed body covered in cotton and Lycra, with hand punched hessian for a unique and realistic look. Though as Big Nutbrown is a suit puppet worn by one puppeteer, he has his own specific and exclusive structures.

The biggest of the hares was customed designed with teddy bear furnishing fabrics, that show off a special cross hatching texture that helps pick up light and shadows on stage and creates a pleasing contrast between the fur and hessian.

The suit puppet has a custom-built adjustable backpack with a harness, that supportively sits around the legs and back of the puppeteer. This is attached to the puppets spine and neck that leads to the head. The spine is made from flexible fibreglass and helps for natural and effortless movement as the puppeteer performs.

The dungaree costume attached to the puppet is designed by the very talented Costume Designer, Isla Shaw.

Big Nutbrown has a discreet hole in his head that allows the puppeteer to manipulate, move and emote the puppet with a handle. We also built-in finger triggers that move the ears in every direction.

Visit here for more information on where to see Guess How Much I Love You live.

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