About A Girl

Elizabeth was born and raised in southern Colorado and spent her first eighteen years on her grandparents ranch, mucking about with the cows, horses, rabbits, and sheep.  Born with an overly active imagination, she spent a lot of her time crafting life sized cows and sugar cube castles in her grandmothers basement.  Her first film project was done at the tender age of seven with two her cousins and her older sister.  It is called “Tombstone” and is not available anywhere.  Ever.

She discovered she had a knack for making puppets when she and her cousin Chelsea met up sometime around fifth grade, and began mass production of cardboard marionettes.  Thus a fascination for the theatre and the theatrical begin.

With the support of her granny and her mom, Liz begin her love affair with the theatre at sixteen when she was cast in her first play and from that time forward she has never looked back.  “You Can’t Take it With You” directed by Bill Fegan was the first time she’d ever been on stage.  From there, Liz spent three summers working as an apprentice with the Southern Colorado Theatre Company under the direction of Fred and Harriet Vaugeois.  She made many wonderful friends and learned a lot about acting, carpentry, lighting, scenic art, scenic design and how to make the most of no sleep and little food.

From there, Liz went to college at Binghamton University and spent four years there, continuing her descent into theatrical madness.  She was in several productions on the Binghamton mainstage and also took an active role in community and local regional theatre.  She received the Gruber Family Scholarship three years in a row and also the Albert Nocciolino Award for Acting while at Binghamton.  She somehow also managed to graduate with High Honors and 220 plus credits.  Her senior year is a bit of a blur.

Ms. Dapo’s adventures in theatre had only just begun! Three days after graduating she moved to Auburn, New York and begin working at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse under the careful eye of Shaminda Amarakoon.  She moved from being a carpenter/electrician to a full time employee, working as the Youth Tour carpenter and scenic artist.  She learned a lot about children’s theatre, planning a set to be transported in a van and also ended up acting in two of the shows.  Teaching children and sharing with them her love of theatre was and still is one of the most rewarding experiences in Liz’s career.

Thirsting for more knowledge, Liz was accepted to the Central School of Speech and Drama’s Advanced Theatre Practice program in 2009-2010.  She built almost twenty puppets while there, acted in several shows, and pushed the edges by proposing a thesis project that would take place in a cemetery.  Fight she did, and along the way she met her partner in crime, Emma Schimminger.  The two of them poured their own blood, sweat, tears, and money into their thesis project, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that took places as a promenade performance in a cemetery.  As a closed performance, not one guest walked away with a poor opinion of the performance.  Each one thought it was special, beautiful and one of the best uses of Shakespeare they had ever seen.  Liz and Emma considered that a success, and in December of 2010, they were awarded their Masters Degree.

As a result of their thesis, Liz and Emma started a theatre company called Perchance To Dream Theatre.  In time it would become HalfMad Theatre, currently producing work exclusively in DC.

What happened next?  Well, Liz applied and auditioned to be one of the puppeteers for the X-Tink-Shun project at the Philadelphia Zoo.  X-Tink-Shun is a project which used puppets created by the Jim Henson Company to convey messages about how humans could help animals that were endangered.  Under the direction of Noel MacNeal, Liz worked on her Spanish accent and became the lead puppeteer for Phibi the Frog.  Always curious, she also undertook learning the other characters as they had been created by her fellow puppeteers, and exploring performance with them when the other puppeteers were unavailable.  Lorna Howley was her biggest inspiration through the process and also Liz’s mentor.

After finishing her project with National Geographic, Liz stayed on in Washington for a few years, teaching with a fabulous company called ArtStream.  She taught in several schools working with children with autism, with puppetry, music, and movement. For Liz, this was an one of the most humbling and enriching experiences of her life.

While in DC, Liz became one of the puppeteers at the PuppetCo Playhouse for three years. She played many a princess, a witch, a few princes, and some sheep.

Now Liz is moving back to the greater New York City area and is looking forward to what the future has to hold.

Stay tuned for what is coming up next!
“I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best.  I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me.” ~Jim Henson

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