Taz Burns (Japanese name: 本田 舞) is a performance artist, silhouette artist, producer and puppetry enthusiast among other things.
As an artist, my performance and research interests have a focus on intercultural exchange, globalisation and history. In a world where the speed and volume at which people migrating is increasing (for work, pleasure or out of necessity), we are living in an age where trading cultures, ideas and influence has become something of the everyday.Today, boarders between countries are simultaneously breaking down with the aid of the internet, while ever-stringent laws on migration in the current climate is making passing between nations more difficult. Inspired by my own mixed family heritage (British and Japanese), I imagine all the other people in the world who can't align themselves to one nation because of mixed heritages or displacement, and contemplate how this affects us. I am interested in exploring divisions between rich traditional cultures, and what happens to them outside their own boarders. When we take an interest in another culture, where the line between misappropriation and creating something new? How do histories of the world (both local and global) have an impact on our lives today? How does our connection with others help us to understand ourselves?
During performances I aim to reflect these questions in my interaction with my audience. I like to feel connected with them, while also being aware of the difference between performer and spectator, and so reflecting the binaries of being connected/disconnected, local/global, near by/far apart.
Taz has studied MA International Performance Research at the University of Warwick and the University of Arts in Belgrade, performed her work internationally, and is currently continuing her performance research in Japan.
Taz is an experienced workshop leader, and has given basic puppetry workshops both to adults and to children of all ages.
Her knowledge of expertise when it comes to puppetry is in Japanese Bunraku puppetry, however she is not a Bunraku puppeteer! She is able to give talks about what Bunraku puppetry entails, the culture around it and give basic demonstrations of how a Bunraku puppet works in particular to a Western audience. However, becoming a professional Bunraku puppeteer requires a minimum of ten years of training in Japan, which Taz has not undertaken. Please get in contact if you would like to discuss what she is able to offer if you are interested specifically in having a talk or a workshop that includes an introduction to what Bunraku puppetry is.
Basic puppetry workshop for adults in Bristol, as part of the collaboration with RUNTcollective’s Putnam and Joy. Photographs by Jake Schmid.
Taz introduces the basics of Bunraku-style puppetry to young children in Norway. Photographs by Anna Krømcke.
Please note: The puppet is not a traditional Bunraku puppet - which is very heavy! - but a styrofoam version designed by Taz for the purpose of giving children the opportunity to hold and work with a puppet themselves).
Set Building / Crafting
In addition to her performance work, Taz is a great fan of making things - anything to keep the fingers busy! She has a large amount of experience in set building and prop making, mostly during her 5 years at Progress Theatre in Reading. In 2014 she also took on an intership with Blind Summit puppet company, where she made a puppet head (shown in image), who is now part of Blind Summit's ensemble. She also made half of the Putnam and Joy.
Other activities that keep Taz's fingers busy include: jewellery making (some images below), knitting, sewing and silhouette cutting.
Photographs by Taz Burns.
Friends of Taz
- Bristol based musician and artist A Love Obscene:
- Bristol based writer and artist Natt Rozanska:
- Brighton based web developer:
Other random interesting sites
- Progress Theatre: where all my interests in performance started.
- For all things puppets based in Bristol: