Ben Moffat, has performed and taught, nationally and internationally since 1986. He was born and raised in Palo Alto, California, and was active in theatre as a child. He wrote and directed his first short scripts as a young adult. As a student at Vassar College in New York, he continued writing and performing, as well as making his first mask. He took his third year of college at the University of York, England, traveling extensively in Europe and seeing plays in London. He took the next year off to continue traveling in Morocco and Senegal, as well as in Europe.
After graduating from Vassar with a BA in English, he moved with friends to Portland, Maine. There he began to work with Shoestring Theatre (a spin-off of the Bread and Puppet Theatre) as a performer, director, writer, mask-maker, and puppeteer. In Maine he was introduced to the teaching of Jacques LeCoq. Seeking more training and more exposure to world theatre, he went to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa to study Asian theatre and directing.
While at UH he performed Javanese dance and music, and appeared in English language productions of kabuki and noh drama. He was among the first troupe of foreigners invited to perform traditional opera in China. While on tour he visited Japan, witnessing noh, bunraku and kabuki performances. In 1985 began to play with dancer/choreographer Yukie Shiroma who was working on her MFA in dance: she had keys to the dance studio, and he had masks. Ben received his MFA in Asian theatre and directing from the UH in 1986 and in 1987 began teaching part time at University of Hawai‘i, Windward Community College. In 2011, he resigned as a professor and now freelances as a performer, storyteller, director, writer and teacher.
In 1990, he and Yukie Shiroma founded their dance theatre company, Monkey Waterfall, performing that year at San Francisco’s Theatre Artaud. In 1992 they were awarded a Hawai‘i State Dance Council Choreographic Award for their signature piece, Monkey and the Waterfall. Besides staging shows in Hawai‘i, they have performed all over the world. Highlights include performances in Boston, Chicago, the Edinburgh Fringe, where they won a Pick of the Fringe award, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia, British Columbia, and London. Their work explores the intersection of dance and theatre, often using mask, stilts and puppets.
In 2006 he worked with Per Brahe, Aole Miller, and Balinese dancers Ida Bagus Anom and Ida Bagus Alit, while attending the Bali Conservatory.
In 2007-8 and 2014 he studied physical theatre, clown and mask work at the London International School of Performing Arts, a school steeped in the pedagogy of Jacque LeCoq. Ben received LISPA's Certificate of Completion.
He is a frequent performer at the Talk Story Festival in Honolulu, and has toured the public libraries in Hawai‘i and Wisconsin with various shows, including his solo storytelling performances using masks, stilts, and puppets.