Wolfe Bowart (born May 28, 1962) is a modern-day physical comedian, actor and playwright. He is the creator and performer of the physical theatre productions LaLaLuna, Letter's End and The Man the Sea Saw. Bowart is the son of writer Walter Bowart and Linda Dugmore, and grandson of the abstract expressionist artist Edward Dugmore.
In 2006, Bowart premiered LaLaLuna, a surreal tale about the night the light went out in the moon, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre during the production’s first Australian tour. Written, directed and performed by Bowart, LaLaLuna contains a poetic narrative by Roscoe Lee Browne. Critic Fergus Shiel of The Age proclaimed the show “luminously inventive and magically silly” and Ari Sharp of The Program wrote “Bowart is the ultimate physical performer. He has a breathtaking awareness of his own body, and glides effortlessly across the stage with balletic skill. His sleight-of-hand is magnificent and fits in so neatly that you sometimes barely notice that it’s there, which allows the audience to be swept away in the dreamy mystique that Bowart seeks to create.”
In 2007, LaLaLuna made its UK premiere at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the London International Mime Festival (see review). Bowart also undertook a 40-performance national tour of Australia, and presented LaLaLuna at the Volos International Festival in Greece.
In 2008, Bowart performed LaLaLuna in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Greece and Brazil and returned to Australia for seasons in Sydney (see review), Hobart and in Melbourne at the Melbourne Arts Centre.
Bowart’s 2009 UK tour included performances at the Theatre Royal, Bath, where LaLaLuna headlined the inaugural Family Theatre Festival.
In 2010, Bowart premiered LaLaLuna in New Zealand and Austria, and returned to the UK, where the production was part of the Brighton Festival (curated that year by Brian Eno), the Salisbury International Arts Festival, and completed seasons at the York Theatre Royal (see review), The Lowry in Salford, and Newcastle's Northern Stage, among others.
Bowart’s production Letter's End, the story of a man inhabiting a magical lost-letter office, made its U.S. premiere in January 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. Bowart's company SpoonTree Productions was awarded a grant from the Australian government to tour Letter's End nationally in 2009. The Australian tour spanned five and a half months and incorporated 43 venues and 91 performances (see reviews). Reviewing for The Mercury, Robert Jarman noted "the show combines comedy and pathos, mime, magic and sleight of hand, shadow puppetry, film and sound in an exemplary and enchanting mix. The sheer amount of invention is staggering."
In 2013, Bowart was again invited to participate at the London International Mime Festival. His season of Letter's End at the Southbank Centre marked the production's UK premiere. (see review) The French premiere of "Letter's End" followed soon after, during a tour that included dates at the 2013 Festival Effervescences alongside works by Philippe Genty, Daniele Finzi Pasca and James Thiérrée.
The Man the Sea Saw
Bowart's Australian premiere of The Man the Sea Saw took place in 2011. He undertook a 66-show national tour that spanned 27 venues and concluded with a season at His Majesty's Theatre in Perth, Western Australia, where The Man the Sea Saw headlined the 2011 Awesome Festival.
The adventures of a man adrift at sea on a melting iceberg prompted Perth critic David Zampatti to write "Bowart acts wordlessly but with boundless expression, his silent movie-actor's face, acrobat's body and magician's hands telling us all we need to know."
As artistic director and co-creator of The Shneedles, Bowart, together with fellow clown Bill Robison, have performed in Japan, Singapore, Australia (see review), Germany, Austria, Spain, Iceland and the U.S. The Shneedles most recently completed a 6-month season in Germany in 2007 for GOP-Varieté Theaters.
As an artist, Bowart was commissioned to create the masks for the visual theatre production Bocon! by the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. As a playwright-performer, Bowart created Harold's Big Feat, which was directed by Peter Brosius and produced by the Mark Taper Forum's P.L.A.Y. (Performing for Los Angeles Youth).
As an actor in the U.S., Bowart has guest-starred on TV programs on ABC, CNBC, the Disney Channel and PBS. On the stage, he has performed in such productions as Moon Over Madness at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, and in The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite at the Mark Taper Forum.
Bowart has also co-written several motion picture and television screenplays on assignment, including “eye-see-you.com,” the season finale episode of the television series The Net for the USA Network, which aired in March 1999.
- Liz Arratoon, “LaLaLuna”, The Stage, January 29, 2007
- Ari Sharp, “Melbourne International Comedy Festival: LaLaLuna”, The Program, April 24, 2006
- Liz Arratoon, “LaLaLuna”, The Stage, January 29, 2007
- Sandra Voulari, “International Volos Festival makes Comeback”, Kathimerini, December 7, 2007
- Miguel Arcanjo Prado, "Norte-americano diverte crianças e adultos com "LaLaLuna" no FIT-BH", Folha Online, July 6, 2008
- Brett Casben, "LaLaLuna", Australian Stage, April 16, 2008
- Lindsay Clark, "Everyday objects made magic with extraordinary skill", Theatreview, July 18, 2010
- "Physical Theatre Performer to Tour Internationally", Stage Whispers, April 6, 2010
- Laura Gooch, "LaLaLuna, Theatre Royal Brighton", The Argus, May 6, 2010
- Charles Hutchinson, "Review: Wolfe Bowart in LaLaLuna", York Press, June 10, 2010
- Rogelio Olivas, "Letter's End delivers physical theatre to Tucson", Tucson Citizen, January 21, 2009
- Wendy Brazil, "Theatre Review - Letter's End", ArtSound FM, May 1, 2009
- Marcus Bower, "Theatrical magic enthralling for young and old", The Examiner, June 30, 2009
- Briony Kidd, "Review: Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End", Australian Stage, July 4, 2009
- Robert Jarman, “Silent sentences in space”, The Mercury, June 26, 2009
- “Nominations for 2010 Helpmann Awards Announced”, Australian Stage, August 3, 2010
- Liz Arratoon, “Letter's End”, The Stage, January 28, 2013
- Laura Warne, “Wolfe Bowart: Transcending Barriers with Physical Theatre”, Artery, September 12, 2013
- “Arts visuels: dix jours d’Effervescences à Nevers et dans la Nièvre”, Le Journal du Centre, October 2, 2013
- Stephen Bevis, “Clowning right at home”, The West Australian, November 15, 2011
- David Zampatti, “Review: The Man the Sea Saw”, The West Australian, November 28, 2011
- Ashleigh Wilson, "An Officer and a Gentleman nominated for five Helpmann Awards", The Australian, August 6, 2012
- Alison Cotes, “Luggage, The Shneedles”, Stage Diary, June 22, 2005
- "Die neue "Shneedles Show" im GOP - Ein Hauch von urkomischem Wahnsinn und purer Unglaublichkeit", Schaumberger Wochenblatt, September 12, 2007
- Lynne Hefley, "Worth the trip", Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1997
- Lynne Hefley, "Big Feat: a skilful comic performance", Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1994
- Christopher Meeks, “Moon Over Madness”, Variety, June 20, 1994
- Julio Martinez, “New Theatre for Now”, Variety, May 9, 1997
- "The Net" (1998)