MacArthur Fellows Program

Julie Taymor

Theater Director and Costume Designer | Class of 1991

Theater Director and Costume Designer
New York, New York
39 at time of award
Area of Focus
Theatrical Arts
Published July 1, 1991

About Julie's Work

Julie Taymor is a director and writer for the theater, opera, and film, and a designer of costumes, sets, puppets, and masks.

Taymor’s work is distinct in her artful combination of folklore, mythology, puppetry, and intellectually complex themes to create vivid, visual spectacles.  During four years of study in Indonesia, she founded and developed a mask-dance troupe, Teatr Loh.  Influenced by various forms of international theater and storytelling, her productions feature a mixed cast of live actors, puppets, shadows, and masks.  The theater works she has written and/or designed and directed include Liberty’s Taken (1985), The Tempest (1986), Titus Andronicus (1994), and Juan Darien (1996).  Taymor has directed opera productions of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex in Japan, Mozart’s Magic Flute in Florence, Strauss’s Salome at the Kirov Opera, and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman for the Los Angeles Opera.


Taymor’s screen directing credits include Fool’s Fire (1992), Titus (1999), and Frida (2002), the biography of artist Frida Kahlo.  She also directed and designed a visually rich, theatrical production of Disney’s The Lion King (1997), reworking the animated film into a set filled with puppets and innovative masks that obscures the line between actor and costume.

Taymor received a B.A. (1974) from Oberlin College and studied acting at the HB Studio in New York.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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