Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jeff Michel trained with James Thornton and at Michael Howard Studios and Russian Art Theatre Summer School at Columbia University. Since moving to Tasmania in 2005, he has performed in various family and adult shows. He’s toured extensively with Terrapin Puppet Theatre’s Love, and Boats, which won the 2012 Helpmann award for the Best Presentation for Children. In 2010 he co-founded Blue Cow Theatre and co-starred in their first production, Art, which later toured Queensland, NSW and Victoria.  Other acting credits for Blue Cow are Simon’s Final Sound, Terminus, and Tom Holloway’s 100 Reasons for War. For TTC he’s appeared in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Smile, Smile, Smile. He has also appeared in many of the ever-popular Big Monkey shows for families in the Botanical Gardens. For the past year Jeff has been part of Blue Cow Theatre development program, The Cowshed, honing Pedalling Back with dramaturge Peter Matheson.

 DIRECTOR – Frank Newman

Frank is a director, producer and community arts worker. He is currently Creative Learning Specialist for the Sydney Opera House. From 2007-2012 Frank was Terrapin Puppet Theatre’s Artistic Director. During this time he directed 8 shows, toured nationally and internationally and won a Helpmann Award for Best Production for Young Audiences for Boats. Prior to that he established and was the Artistic Director of the Ashfield Youth Theatre for seven years. He has directed, produced and performed for over 18 years. He has a Bachelor of Creative Arts, Majoring in Theatre Technology, from Wollongong University. Frank’s shows have played in festivals and venues in New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, the USA, China and around Australia including the Sydney Opera House, the Arts Centre Melbourne and the Adelaide Festival Centre. He has worked with artists such as the Dell ‘Arte Players in California, Nigel Jamieson, Nick Enright, Gary Stewart and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.


Graduating from Theatre Nepean in 1991 Mel has worked in theatre film and TV. In theatre Mel has performed with Riverina, Canberra, and Siren theatre companies, and REM Theatre. Joining Terrapin Puppet Theatre in 1994, Mel has been a core member for 20 years performing in more than a dozen shows touring nationally and internationally. In 2014 Mel returned from an American tour of Terrapin’s Love. Also in 2014 Mel toured nationally with Force Majuere and Belvoir St Theatre in Food. In 2000 she worked with Henson puppets on the Australian production of Pan and performed in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Para-Olympic Games with French Puppet Company Plasticien Volants. In 2001 Mel spent a year working for LATT Children’s Theatre in Seoul, Korea. In 2002 Mel moved to Hobart and has since performed with Big Monkey Theatre, TTC, TSO, Tasmania Performs, and Mudlark Theatre. For Blue Cow Theatre, Mel has previously performed in Tidal Pools and Ruben Guthrie. In 2012 Mel performed with her own company Extended Play Projects in an adult puppetry work Hungry For You. Her short film credits include Our Man in Tasmania, Knit One, The Promising and Sound Blocks Pain. Her feature credits include First Fagin and Arctic Blast. She has puppeteered for TV on Farscape, The Wiggles and The Wiggles Movie as well as TV credits on G.P, Fallen Angels and Home and Away.


Blue Cow Theatre’s mission is to produce invigorating theatre that is in touch with the times, that stretches and stimulates artists, and that nourishes audiences in heart and mind. Blue Cow mounts an annual program of works, including extant texts, new works commissioned from Tasmanian and national writers, and works which have emerged from The Cowshed – Blue Cow’s playwrights and theatre-makers development program.

Pedallling Back was developed in The Cowshed, working with dramaturg Peter Matheson