Basil Twist

Basil Twist

New York, NY

A native of San Francisco, Basil Twist is a third generation puppeteer now living in New York. He is the sole American to graduate from the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Twist’s showmanship was spotlighted in New York by “The Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry” with his award winning The Araneidae Show. Coupled with the critically & popularly praised and multiple award-winning Symphonie Fantastique, Twist was revealed as a singular artist of unlimited imagination. Highlights of Twist’s subsequent work have included Petrushka and his Creative Capital project Dogugaeshi, Behind the Lid with Lee Nagrin, and Arias with a Twist co-created with nightlife icon Joey Arias. Symphonie and these productions have toured throughout the world. Twist received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2015.


Basil Twist is a third-generation puppeteer now living in New York.

Artist Bio

For Dogugaeshi, Basil Twist was inspired by Japanese puppet theater and blending centuries of tradition with his own inimitable style. Innovative puppet artist  Twist had been obsessed with the rarefied and dying tradition of Japanese dogugaeshi stage mechanism technique ever since he saw it in a black-and-white film years ago. With a commission from Japan Society, he was given the opportunity to delve into its rich intricacies. After immersing himself in Japanese Awaji Puppet Theater, the origin of what has come to be known as “bunraku” and a modern practitioner of dogugaeshi, Twist unfolds abstract and modern imagery inspired by Japan. This intimate performance features original shamisen compositions created and performed by authorized master musician Yumiko Tanaka.

Award Year