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Basil Twist


American puppeteer Basil Twist made his Royal Ballet debut in 2014, designing the silk effects for Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale.

Twist was born in San Francisco and is based in New York. He studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette, becoming the first American to graduate through the school. He is Director of the Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE, New York. His original productions include Symphonie Fantastique, Petrushka, Dogugaeshi, Behind the Lid and Arias with a Twist, a collaboration with Joey Arias. Theatre work includes co-directing A Streetcar Named Desire with Lee Breuer for the Comédie-Française in 2011. Twist’s work in opera includes directing and designing Hansel and Gretel for Houston Grand Opera and Resphighi’s puppet opera La bella dormente nel bosco for Gotham Chamber Opera. His ‘ballet without dancers’ Rite of Spring was first performed in 2013 in the University of North Carolina. Puppetry work on Broadway includes for The Addams Family, for which he won a Drama Desk Award.

Twist has taught puppetry at Duke University, New York University and Brown University. His awards include five UNIMA Awards, a USA Artists fellowship and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

News and features

Designing <em>The Winter’s Tale</em>: telling Shakespeare’s tale through more than words

Designing The Winter’s Tale: telling Shakespeare’s tale through more than words

31 March 2016

Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation is a true collaborative effort, with spectacular designs from all the creative team coming together to tell the story.