Jennifer Onopa is a theater maker and educator who is passionate about creating collaborative, socially conscious theater and performance. Her interests in innovative models of devising, community engagement, applied theater practice, and education guide much of her work. She recently completed her MFA in Theater Directing at UMass Amherst, where she directed The Lily's Revenge by Taylor Mac, The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and We Are Proud to Present… by Jackie Sibblies Drury, which toured to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. She has directed and produced numerous devised works, plays, adaptations, and works of puppetry in New York City and Chicago, in site-specific locations, storefront theaters, cafes, schools, and off-Broadway spaces. She recently assisted Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks in two iterations of Collidescope: Adventures in Pre-and Post-Racial America (UMass Amherst and Wake Forest University) a multi-media theater work documenting U.S. race history. Jen was an artistic associate with Redmoon Theater in Chicago, with whom she performed regularly and assisted with the direction of several large-scale public art works involving installation, puppetry, and spectacle. She is an SDC associate member and a member of the SDC Observership Class of 2018-19.
An educator for over 20 years, Jen currently teaches theater at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School in Massachusetts. She is a proud former New York City public high school teacher, where she taught literacy and theater for a decade and mentored several cohorts of NYC Teaching Fellows. She has been a teaching artist and youth theater director for Redmoon Theater, Gallery 37 Projects, Chicago Arts Partners in Education, and the Creative Arts Team (CAT) in NYC.