Mark finds big joy in puppet theatre

Mark Rengel, wife Luyan and daughters Avalon (7) and Aurora (5) from the Mark Rengel Puppet Theatre Company.
Mark Rengel, wife Luyan and daughters Avalon (7) and Aurora (5) from the Mark Rengel Puppet Theatre Company. Scott Powick

MANY dream of quitting their nine-to-five jobs for quirky pursuits, but Mark Rengel followed through.

The Coolangatta resident wasn't happy with his job, but has made his big break as a puppeteer.

He and wife Luyan launched their puppet theatre at the encouragement of their daughters, Avalon and Aurora.

When he was working as a school teacher, Mark Rengel had always had a passion for puppets, often using them as learning tools.

"I turned 50 and my daughter said why don't you just start your own puppet theatre because that's what you've always wanted to do,” he said.

Mr Rengel was in limbo. His teaching career had left him burnt out and he wasn't enjoying the security work he'd found himself in.

But with the Mark Rengel Puppet Theatre Company, he has "found his zen”.

"From the start I thought we're doing the right thing, we can do a lot of good with this,” he said.

"We know we can make lots of kids happy.”

After about 18 months of work setting up the mobile theatre stage to pair with his hand-made puppets, Mr Rengel and his wife Luyan took part in their first public appearance at the Tweed City Shopping Centre's fundraiser for the Tweed Hospital last Thursday.

He said this was a "big break” for the company, which is based out of his home workshop in Coolangatta.

Mr and Mrs Rengel hope to take their shows into schools, working collaboratively with teachers to bring entertainment and education together.

"I want it to be an experience for the kids, not just a puppet show... I want them to be a part of the world that we've created,” he said.

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