Basil Twist

Written by Lauren Graham




Basil Twist was born to be in the spotlight, or at least to be the mastermind behind putting famous puppets there.  According to Twist, “Puppetry goes beyond entertainment into issues of life, death, and the soul…it is a direct connection to the imagination and the experience of being alive.”

Originally from San Francisco, he is a third generation puppeteer.  Basil attended the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette, one of the world’s premiere puppetry training programs, in Charleville-Mezieres, France.  He originally appeared on the scene in 1995 with his creation of The Araneidae Show.  Since then, the puppeteer has dreamed up seven more original productions and collaborated with other artists on even more.

Twist is widely known for his focus on integrating puppetry with music.  One of his most famous pieces, Symphonie Fantastique, is an underwater puppet show performed to the music of the symphony after which it is named.  His version of Master Peter’s Puppet Show was created with Eos Orchestra, while Dogugaeshi featured the original compositions of Yumiko Tanaka.

Famous for his creativity and innovation, Twist has produced shows using both underwater and wind puppetry.  Speaking to this, he once said, “My shows are so different from one another, because once I’ve done one thing, I want to try something else.  Puppetry is so vast it doesn’t make sense to stick with only one aesthetic or technique.”  Other works include Hansel and Gretel, Petrushka, La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco, Arias With a Twist, and the creation of puppets for many collaborative works.  Twist is even responsible for the making of a giant white spider for the New York City Halloween Parade.

Additionally, Twist is the founder and director of the Dream Music Puppetry Program at Here Arts Center in New York City.  The program trains and supports new puppet artists.


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One response to “Basil Twist

  1. Duke in New York Arts & Media Program

    Posted by Lauren Graham

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