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Please be advised: Butterfly Pavilion will be closing early on Sunday, March 3 at 2:00 p.m. with last admission at 1:15 p.m.

The Butterfly Affect Experience

The Butterfly Affect: Interactive Performance

Saturday, January 27, 2024 (Multiple sessions through the day)

Picture yourself metamorphizing as a butterfly—literally*. The Butterfly Affect offers an embodied exploration where participants are costumed as they travel through each stage of a butterfly’s lifecycle. Begin within an egg, crawl out as a caterpillar, hang within a chrysalis, and, ultimately, emerge as a butterfly. This half-hour immersive experience invites individuals to delve inward, reflect on personal growth, and emerge transformed. Only six participants travel through this experience at a time, each led by their own host with ample moments of silent meditation enhanced by an original soundscape. Humbly tracing the steps of a butterfly’s metamorphosis can guide and inspire your co-becoming towards beauty, change, and transformation. The aim is to inspire a collective commitment to co-create a world that is equitable, sustainable, and conducive to thriving life and ecosystems.

*Your host will use your camera to photograph you through each stage so you can add your image and insights to the Co-Becoming Butterfly Gallery Online, with submissions from around the world.

Distinguishing Effect from Affect: The theory underlying the Butterfly Effect suggests that a butterfly’s wing fluttering on one side of the globe could trigger a tornado on the opposite side. It highlights how small changes can lead to significant and distant consequences. In this context, “effect” refers to the change that has already occurred, while “affect” represents the current action causing change. If climate, for instance, is the cumulative effect of weather patterns over time, collective human action can actively influence and alter the climate. Through The Butterfly Journey, our combined efforts have the potential to ripple across the world, fostering a more equitable, sustainable, and thriving global community. 

Your Instructors:

  • Beth Osnes, PhD (Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado)
  • Sarah Fahmy PhD (Assistant Professor of Theatre at Florida State University)

Learn more ->

*This is a free program but does not include exhibit admission*

Session Times:

  • 9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
  • 9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
  • 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m.
  • 1:15 – 1:45 p.m.
  • 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Your instructors: Beth Osnes and Sarah Fahmy

Beth Osnes, Ph.D., serves as a Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado. She holds the position of co-director for Inside the Greenhouse, a platform dedicated to creative climate communication. Additionally, she is the co-founder, alongside Dr. Chelsea Hackett, of SPEAK, an initiative focused on empowering female and non-binary youth through vocal expression. Delve into her latest project, an innovative art-science approach to engaging youth in interspecies friendship and survivability. You can explore this endeavor, which showcases award-winning films featuring large-scale bird puppets representing various Colorado species, by following this link. Collaborating with Dr. Patrick Chandler, she played a pivotal role in developing Enacting Climate, an online open-source collection housing a variety of climate-related tools and activities designed for student learning and climate action. Among her notable literary contributions are the books “Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development” and “Performance for Resilience: Engaging Youth on Energy and Climate through Music, Movement, and Theatre.” Notably, Beth Osnes is featured in the acclaimed documentary “Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.” She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Embodying a butterfly has surprisingly become one of my favorite expressions of self-joy. As a woman of color, I often feel hyper-visible in the spaces I occupy, particularly in nature. When I’m a butterfly puppet, this hypervisbility is transformed into a welcomed, desirable characteristic. I embrace the playfulness of the puppet, and as it expands my physical circumference, I feel a joyous liberation taking up space. The more I puppeteer, the more comfortable and knowledgeable I feel about climate concerns, and I am committed to extending this creative tool to facilitate inclusive eco-activism. It has been incredible experiencing the versatility of these puppets, from the UN Commission on the Status of Women to local climate strikes, to national parks.

Sarah Fahmy is an assistant professor of theatre at Florida State University. She is a decolonial scholartist, the co-founder of the Middle Eastern Theatre focus group at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, and the author of several interdisciplinary articles, including “Eco-puppetry: playful disruptions for climate agency in Puppetry International (2022).