Basil Twist

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2012

New York, NY

Basil Twist is a puppeteer and director who furthers the artistry and technical craft of puppetry through his diverse range of works. Creations have included Symphonie Fantastique (1999 OBIE Award, Drama Desk nomination), La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco (staged at the Spoleto Festival USA and the Lincoln Center Festival in 2005), Dogugaeshi (Japan Society, 2004), and Master Peter’s Puppet Show (performed at the Ravinia Festival with the Los Angeles Philharmonic). He is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award (2000), a USA Fellowship (2006), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006) and multiple MAP Fund and Jim Henson Foundation grants, among others. Twist currently serves as Artistic Director of HERE Art Center’s Dream Music Puppetry Program, one of the few programs in the country to develop and commission contemporary, adult puppet works. His Dogugaeshi makes its European debut in Spring 2014.

  • Basil Twist- The Rite of Spring: /113682911
    The Rite of Spring
  • Photo Credit: Leroy Door
  • Basil Twist- Arias with a Twist (2008):
    Arias with a Twist (2008)
  • Basil Twist- Dogugaeshi (2007):
    Dogugaeshi (2007)
  • Basil Twist- Hansel and Gretel (2006) :
    Hansel and Gretel (2006)
  • Symphonie Fantastique (1998)

What fuels your impulse to make creative work?

Puppetry for me started as a small child. I was literally enchanted by it, and when I saw that it was a way that I could control and create my own world and make real my imagination, it was just a natural thing to start to make my own puppets and to express myself that way. As I grew up and was meant to figure out "what I wanted to be" it became clear to me that my most authentic expression was as a puppeteer; making things come to life. I still realize it its an odd practice, not really of this modern world, but a completely magical way of creating and being. And besides honestly continuing a momentum began in childhood, I am more and more aware of the profound meaning behind puppetry, how it touches a very ancient part of our souls, that the mystery of something lifeless coming to life enchants us because it quietly reminds us of the mystery of our own lives. I guess this is what it has always done for me since childhood and the real thing I keep looking for in the work I do… the spark of mystery that I recognize in my very self.