Jacob Juntunen is a playwright and theatre scholar whose work focuses on people who struggle against society’s boundaries. He is Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature/Criticism and Playwriting at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale where he heads the MFA and PhD programs in playwriting.
As a playwright, his scripts have been produced across the U.S. His play UNDER AMERICA—about gentrification, public housing, and the prison industry—opened at Chicago’s Mortar Theatre in September 2010 and was featured in TimeOut Magazine. It was developed at the Timberlake Playwrights’ Colony and at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, winning the Lee Blessing and Tennessee Williams’ Scholarships. Jacob’s follow-up, JOAN’S LAUGHTER—fictionalizing the last ninety minutes of Joan of Arc’s life—premiered at Chicago’s Side Project in May 2012. SADDAM’S LIONS has been produced in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Kentucky and is forthcoming in the Vintage anthology Plays for Two. His other plays have been developed and produced at the Vestige Group, Stages Repertory Theatre, the Source Festival, Chicago Dramatists, Caffeine Theatre, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, and others.
His academic essays and reviews concentrating on the politics of performance have appeared in Theatre Journal, Puppetry International, Polish-AngloSaxon Studies, and the LMDA Review. His scholarship is also included in the anthologies To Have or Have Not: New Essays on Commerce and Capital in Modernist Theatre; “We Will Be Citizens”: New Essays on Gay and Lesbian Theatre; and Tony Kushner: New Essays on the Art and Politics of the Plays. He also has a strong interest in East European theatre, served by a 2011 Faculty Fulbright Fellowship to Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.
Jacob has extensive experience in the Chicago storefront theatre scene, as an alumnus Senior Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, as the founding managing director of Mortar Theatre, as a dramaturg, and as a recipient of a Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council.
For short plays see: RiposteToTheWorld.blogspot.com.