WONDERHEADS is a multi-award winning physical theatre company specializing in mask performance and exquisite visual storytelling for adults and children. Our work is performed in full-face mask, a wordless form that mixes European larval mask traditions with character mask styles, resulting in a craft rarely seen on North American stages. Audiences have described the experience as watching a living cartoon – the whimsy and imagination of Pixar or Warner Bros in theatrical form. In this distinct style of storytelling, along with rich soundscapes, fantastical puppetry, timeless slapstick and deft physical performance, we WONDERHEADS make it our business to step beyond words and ignite the hearts and imaginations of our every audience member.
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
the upper part of the human body composed of paper, glue and magic.
Kate Braidwood, WONDERHEADS Co-Founding Artistic Director, is an actor, deviser, sound designer, director and mask maker. She has performed nationally and internationally, and her masks are used in WONDERHEADS’ own work as well as on stages and in classrooms around the world. Kate holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Victoria and an MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International where she trained as an ‘actor-creator’, studying the development of original, physically driven work created in ensemble. It was at Dell’Arte that her passion for mask was truly ignited and developed, during which time she trained in the Italian form of Commedia Dell’Arte, studied mask performance with Joan Schirle and Ronlin Foreman, studied mask design with Bruce Marrs and worked with Berlin-based mask company Familie Flöz. In 2009 she teamed up with fellow Dell’Arte graduate, Andrew Phoenix, to create the WONDERHEADS and has been busy touring their work since that time. Kate was recently named a 2015 Oregon Arts Commission Fellow, an initiative designed to recognize the achievements of outstanding Oregon artists.
Andrew Phoenix, WONDERHEADS Co-Founding Artistic Director, is an actor, deviser, director and teacher. He completed his BFA in Acting at Texas State University and worked with Dallas Children’s Theatre, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in New Jersey, and the Texas Shakespeare Festival. Andrew completed his MFA degree in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre at Dell’Arte International and went on to perform and teach in India with Clowns without Borders U.S.A., direct and teach at Intiman Theatre in Seattle, and perform with the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake and Miracle Theatre of Portland. In 2009 he joined forces with Kate Braidwood to create their first show together, Grim and Fischer, and the WONDERHEADS were born. They have since toured their work throughout North America, garnering rave reviews and numerous awards, including the League of Cincinnati Theatres Award for Outstanding Production (Grim and Fischer, 2012), and the Edmonton Critics’ Choice Award (LOON, 2012).
Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support:
The Canada Council for the Arts
Betsy and Iya (Portland, OR)
Oregon Arts Commission (Salem, OR)
Regional Arts and Culture Council (Portland, OR)
Headwaters / Water in the Desert AIR Program (Portland, OR)
Working Artist Org. (Portland, OR)
PAC LAB, a program of Portland Actors Convservatory (Portland, OR)
Promotional photos for Wonderheads were made possible through a Creative Service Award from DesignEgg. Learn more at DesignEgg.org