Cave Dogs brings together visual artists, musicians, puppeteers, and storytellers in the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration. The performances consist of innovative, large-scale shadow projections cast onto a screen from props, costumes, puppets and the human body. Cast shadows move in concert with projected video imagery, spoken narrative, and an original soundtrack. High intensity, hand held lights create dynamic, unusual and distorted shadows of varying scale onto a translucent scrim. The mobility of the light source allows Cave Dogs to create multiple, richly layered visual tableaus, and produce effects that conjure both the dreamlike quality of early experimental film and the humor of contemporary animation. 

The text, visuals, and sound track of our performances together make up a rich artifact that documents and celebrates important cultural voices, social identities and environmental perspectives.

Cave Dogs work involves combining movement, form, manipulated light and shadow to explore the process of creating unusual and surprising visual effects and produce imagery that consistently delights and challenges the viewer. We use scale to create complex dynamics between objects, the figure and the audience. We use images to enhance meaning in sound. We coax trees to grow and teach whales to sing.


We attract a diverse audience with varying levels of experience with art and performance. We are interested in interdisciplinary approaches to creative projects and invested in creating and sustaining community. We depart from tradition in favor of innovation, abstraction and experimentation to ensure the evolution and vitality of our work. For us, live performance offers opportunities to adapt and adjust to our environment and audience as well as gaining new and interesting perspectives on our work. The dialog between audience and artist is one that we hope to nourish. After each performance we invite the audience back behind the screen to see our props and have the chance to speak with us in order to help demystify our shadowy illusions.

Cave Dogs has successfully produced and performed eight original performances that include: Liquid States, Part 1 (2017), Sure-Minded Uncertainties (2012), Archaeology of a Storm (2007), Ferrous City (2002), How to Build a Raft (1998), Emily’s Circus (1994), Sustenance (1993), and Fall of Perception (1992).

We received support from The Jim Henson Foundation, NYC (2001, 2009, 2016), Franklin Furnace, NYC (1996, 1997 & 2005) and the NLT Foundation, MA (2000).

Cave Dogs performances include:

International venues – The Centre for the Less Good Idea , founded by William Kentridge, and the Sibikwa Arts Centre, both in Johannesburg, SA. The Skissernas Museum, Lund, Sweden, Akademiet For Utæmmet Kreativitet-AFUK, (Academy for Untamed Creativity) & Akademiet For Moderne Cirkus-AMoC, Copenhagen, Denmark, the St. Petri Cathedral; Malmo Festivalen, Sweden; The Grand Ol & Mat Art Space, Malmo, Sweden and Nordlys Friskole in Copenhagen, Denmark.

New York venues – The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, FringeNYC- 14th Street Y; the Art Directors Club Gallery-NYC; HERE; P.S. 122; Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Art Center; Back Stage Productions, Kingston; – TheatreROCS Stage, Rochester Fringe Festival; O+ Festival, Kingston; the Holmes Theater, Alfred University; Garrison Art Center, the Brydcliffe Theater, Woodstock; the Powerhouse Theater, Vassar College; the Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie; Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale; The Performing Arts Center, Stone Ridge; the Comeau Property, Woodstock; the Widow Jane Mine, Rosendale, and the Studley and McKenna Theaters at SUNY New Paltz.

Boston, Massachusetts venues – Mobius; the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center; Massachusetts College of Art; Boston University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Other venues – the New Orleans Fringe Festival; PortFringe at Space Gallery, Portland, ME; and The Opera House, Boothbay Harbor, ME.


Cave Dogs, founded by Suzanne Stokes in 1992, includes Jim Fossett, Adam Mastropaolo, Trudy Trutwin, Kari Giordano, Maizy Milliken, Alchemy Mastropaolo, Gracie and Emerson Fossett. Dean Jones, Grammy Award winner, creates the soundtracks.

We embrace the collaborative process, posses a strong work ethic and are invested in creating and sustaining community. We are dedicated to expanding and strengthening our technical and conceptual skills to produce innovative work. Each member has specific strengths, but we also each take on most elements of creating a performance. We are a self-reliant group and each member routinely alternates between performing, puppeteering, lighting, gripping, running tech and crewing during a performance. Together, we acknowledge the unexpected, celebrate the surprise, and allow the work to take shape from it.

  • Suzanne Stokes

    founder, artistic director, co-writer, lighting design, choreographer, performer prop design, puppeteer, costumes, grip, and promotions

  • Jim Fossett

    co-founder, writer, producer, video and sound design, performer, puppeteer, lighting design, prop design, tech design, grip

  • Adam Mastropaolo

    co-writer, lighting design, choreographer, performer, props, grip, web design and promotions

  • Trudy Trutwin

    co-writer, lighting design, choreographer, performer, props, costumes, grip

  • Douglas Keller

    lighting design, choreography, performer, props and grip

  • Dean Jones

    musical director, sound design

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