Betsy Tobin, Artistic Director of the Now Or Never Theatre, has directed and performed original theatre pieces across the United States, in Canada, in Guinea, and throughout Europe where she won awards at festivals and earned an international reputation as a solo puppeteer. Her innovative work integrates forms of puppetry with acting, masks, shadow theatre, and video projection. During the last 12 years, she has experimented with different ways of telling stories using layered imagery in larger multi-media productions. Shows are presented in unusual settings with projection on a variety of surfaces as in SHADOWS & JOURNEYS, performed in canyons across the Southwest with shadows on rock walls representing the memories of the land.
She participated in the Art in Embassies program in Guinea in June 2016 and returned to Africa in February 2017 to direct “Ombres et Lumieres Sur Conakry” (Light & Shadows Over Conakry) in Guinea with local actors, musicians, and dancers. This devised theatre piece contrasted day and night, exploring rituals and scenes from everyday life and dreams and nightmares portrayed with shadow theatre, projections, and the griot (storyteller) tradition.
Betsy is working on a video collaboration juxtaposing sculptor George Sherwood’s use of light in his kinetic sculptures with her use of shadow. She performed in Margarita Blush’s show Unfolding, at puppetry festivals in Bulgaria, Turkey, and Minnesota.
Betsy currently performs her production, The Auspicious Adventures of an Improbable Princess. She has performed the show on tour in Colorado, at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, and at Dixon Place in New York City.
HONORS & AWARDS
Citation for Playwriting & Direction of DRAPEAU at Dartmouth College
Award for originality and adaptation of The Night of Sisyphus at Festival of Caen
Children's Literature Award in France for Roi de Paille (King of Straw)
Children's Jury Award, Festival of Ambert for Roi de Paille (King of Straw)
Nomination for French Piaf for Roi de Paille (King of Straw)
Featured performance artist at Untitled at Denver Art Museum
Magna Cum Laude BA from Dartmouth College
Fulbright-related Annette Kade Fellowship for the Performing Arts
Boulder County Arts Alliance Theatre Fellowships in 1995 & 2005
Rocky Mountain Women's Institute Fellowship
French Ministry of Culture
The Jim Henson Foundation
Colorado Creative Industries / Colorado Council on the Arts
Boulder Arts Commission, a division of the Boulder City Council
Boulder County Arts Alliance
Seattle Arts Commission
King County Arts Commission
and many more
Roi de Paille / King of Straw, play published by GES Editions, Paris.
Betsy Tobin in microcosm/MACROCOSM
FRANCE: Theatre Dunois, Paris, Semaines de la Marionnette a Paris, Festivals of Charleville-Mezieres, Festival Off in Avignon, Festivals of Ambert, Mougins, Besancon, Bailleul,
Caen, Palavas-les-Flots, and many more, Maisons de
la Culture du Havre, de Nevers, de Dieppe, etc.
EUROPEAN FESTIVALS including Neerpelt, Bochum, Erlangen, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Braunschweig, Nürnberg, Geneva, Zurich, Ascona, Norwich, and Sevilla. Shows in London, Munich, Stockholm, Brussels, Lausanne, Rotterdam, and numerous other cities across Europe.
U.S. FESTIVALS in Putney, VT, Denver, Puppeteers of America National Festivals, SW & NW Regional Festivals, performances at Dixon Place, NYC, Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Eugene O'Neill Center, Waterford, CT, Denver Art Museum, National Parks across the Southwest, and many more diverse venues and site-specific locations from theaters and museums to wineries and breweries to spectacular outdoor settings including the Grand Canyon.
Mariposa Collective (2004-present)
Boulder County Arts Leadership Forum (2012-present)
Puppets from The Miser of Mount Rainier currently at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum in Bremerton, Washington
Shadow puppet and video in Puppets: World on a String exhibition at the Shelburne Museum (February-June 4, 2018)
Masks at the JCC at the MACC in Denver
Puppets from The Night of Sisyphus at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Giant puppets for the Boulder Procession of the Species at
Photos of In Search of Seventh Heaven at Maisons de la Cultures
from SHADOWS & JOURNEYS