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My shadow practice simmers together everything from cut paper to traditional printmaking, overhead projector, crankie theater, stop motion animation, and cello.  I’m fascinated by how we may look indirectly at an object—through a lens, through a shadow—and know it in a greater truth of itself.  Above all I celebrate metamorphosis and liminal creatures like me.  I like looking through X-ray goggles at the forces of grief, departure and becoming, and I delight in poking at our perceptions of control and otherness.  As I've come to roost finding shadow theater as a 'home' for all of my creative faculties, I'm now working on adapting and honoring this long-standing, often spiritual tradition of storytelling towards original films and live performances.  For me, calling on shadows is a magic of realizing the impossible and of vibrating at a frequency that is universally understandable, which is a magic that I feel is so fertile for growing mutual respect and communication across communities.  While I seek to present original plays and films, I also encourage that my shadows help others share their own experiences.  For the foreseeable future you can find me collaborating with musicians, dancers, singers, cooks, scientists, you name it.



Maisie O’Brien is a Philadelphia transplant from Dallas, TX and a Chinese-American adoptee.  She has had the pleasure of presenting her original work with communities including the National Capital Puppetry Guild, Nasty Brutish & Short, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, The Baltimore Crankie Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, and Studio 34, as well as developing shadows, puppets, sets, and costumes for local and international collaborations with fellow storytellers in film, dance, music, and theater.  Maisie has studied puppetry in academic and immersive contexts like Bread & Puppet Theater, The University of Connecticut, The O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, the Chicago International Puppetry Festival Workshops, and the National Puppetry Festival.  As a second generation arts educator they also work to uplift local voices with puppetry and narrative arts workshops, summer camps, and festivals.  This year they look forward to bringing their own puppetry workshops and performances to more local communities, while fostering collective liberation by telling our stories.

Peoplehood Parade 2022 with Spiral Q in West Philly, photo by Ro Adler

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Confluence 2024 headshot_by Katherine Fahey.JPG


performing at the Confluence Creative Center's 2024 Festival of Panoramic Scrolling Art.  photo by Katherine Fahey

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