Mary Tuomanen is a theater artist interested in using the movement of bodies in space to tell a story, rather than just text. She attended L'Ecole Lecoq in Paris, where she studied storytelling tools like acrobatics, clown, mask, mime, scenography, and spatial composition. Tuomanen has worked with several Philadelphia collectives dedicated to devising work with what she calls "the collective mind"—combining ideas to solve a given artistic problem in creative and visually interesting ways.
With puppetmaker and theater artist Aaron Cromie, Tuomanen created and performed A Paper Garden, a commission by the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum as part of its Center-supported venture, The Greenhouse Projects. This production, performed in the APS garden, depicted an unlikely friendship between two famous figures: Empress Josephine and botanist Andre Michaux. The results whet the artists' appetites to imagine the world of another historical figure. Together the two are now producing The Body Lautrec, a meditation on the life, art, and maladies of the French painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Tuomanen will direct the work to illuminate the strange, playful world that she and Cromie create together.