Rhodessa Jones

Lecturer

  • 109 Dwinelle Annex
  • Monday 5:00-7:00pm
  • Email

Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, director, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Founder and Director of the award-winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women/HIV Circle, which is a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women and women living with HIV. Ms. Jones has been a Visiting Professor at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California (2015), and an Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014), as well as the Keynote Speaker for Commencement at the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  Additionally, Ms. Jones was awarded the 2015 Theatre Practitioner Award by Theater Communications Group, which recognizes a living individual whose work in the American theatre has evidenced exemplary achievement over time and who has contributed significantly to the development of the larger field.” Ms. Jones is also the recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship to support her work, and has been honored with an Honorary Doctorate from California College of the Arts.

Recently, Ms. Jones directed the African American Shakespeare Company production of Xtigone. In 2014, Ms. Jones Rhodessa directed Blessing the Boats: The Remix, Sekou Sundiata’s acclaimed solo theater work, at the Public Theater in New York City. Other directing credits include the upcoming new play Lost in Language by the renowned Ntozake Shange; Lysistrata (African American Shakespeare Company, 2007); Eve Ensler’s Any One of Us (V-DAY: Until the Violence Stops Festival, performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall); and Will Power’s The Gathering.

Ms Jones’s work is featured in a new book entitled Solo/Black/Woman: Performing Global Traditions and Local Intervention, which devotes a chapter to Rhodessa’s landmark play Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women. Other publications include A Beginner’s Guide to Community – Based Arts; Colored Contradictions An Anthology of Contemporary African American Plays; and Let’s Get It On: The Politics of Black Performance. Her work with incarcerated women is the subject of Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women by Rena Fraden. Most recently, The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care published Ms Jones’s work with the Medea Project’s HIV Circle, titled An Expressive Therapy Group Disclosure Intervention for Women Living with HIV: A Qualitative Analysis. Other scholarly works include Deep in the Night in the Journal of Medical Humanities; Staging Migrations Toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones by Marta Effinger; and the chapter “Rhodessa Jones, Teacher in Women’s Jails” in Conversations with Great Teachers by Bill Smoot.