After decades of working together, and apart, on other people’s projects, Melbourne creatives Katrina Gaskell and Enio Pozzebon combined their respective puppetry and musical talents to form Bonkel Theatre.

Katrina Gaskell and Enio Pozzebon The Hopefuls

Katrina Gaskell and Enio Pozzebon - The Hopefuls

Katrina began her working life as a speech pathologist, but even her colleagues could see that wasn’t a good fit.

‘A psychologist who worked with me said, “What are you doing here?” I think I just got around the world in a slightly more curly way than people around me.’

Katrina remade herself as a puppetry artist after becoming immersed in Melbourne’s artistic scene and learning how to make puppets from the masters at the famous Handspan Theatre.

Her partner, Enio Pozzebon, took a more direct path to his career as a musician.

‘As a little kid, I would watch my brother rehearse in an Italian band with my now-brother-in-law on the keyboard, and I knew I wanted to do that. I started learning keyboard and understanding harmony and how it works and decided to study it.’

He has gone on to establish a solid track record as a composer, performer and music teacher, with highlights including his star turn as Gareth Evans in the musical comedy Keating.

For the past two years, the duo have been working on their joint Bonkel Theatre projects featuring a pair of oversized puppets, named The Hopefuls, and two smaller additions; Krysler Von Kapitalism and Yvonne Socialism. All four puppets will be involved in the pair’s first performance for the Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined.

‘What I have loved about The Hopefuls is that these big, imposing, old characters get so much attention. It puts that age group up on a pedestal and that doesn’t happen that often,’ Enio says.

Watch The Hopefuls - Katrina Gaskell and Enio Pozzebon's performance now.

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