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Jessica Litwak, PhD, RDT

Jessica Litwak: Director, Playwright, Performer

Jessica Litwak, PhD, RDTis an international theatre practitioner, drama therapist and recognized leader in the field of socially engaged theatre. She is an award winning playwright, Equity actor, innovative educator, director, and puppet builder.

Her company the H.E.A.T. Collective www.heatcllective.org produces workshops, events, and productions that bring together the practices of Healing, Education, and Activism through Theatre.  She has worked extensively in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, India, and throughout Central, Eastern, and Western Europe. Litwak is a trained practitioner of Playback, Psychodrama, and Theatre of the Oppressed. As the Founder and Artistic Director of The New Generation Theatre Ensemble (www.ngte.org) she built training and performance opportunities for youth.

Litwak is a graduate of RADA, NYU, Columbia University and Antioch University with a BFA in acting, an MFA in playwriting and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change.

Her collection of plays Wider Than the Sky and Other Plays and The Emma Goldman Trilogy: Love Anarchy and Other Affairs, The Snake and The Falcon, Nobody Is Sleeping, are published by No Passport Press and Indie Theatre Now. Her other works are published by TCG, Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Plays include: Dream Acts, A Pirate’s Lullaby, (Rattlestick Theater and at The Goodman Theatre), The Promised Land, Secret Agents  and Victory Dance (The Renberg Theatre, Lops Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, and The DR2 ), Terrible Virtue, (The Lark and The Culture Project), her play Wider Than The Sky (The Lark, UCONN, Boston Museum of Science, Epic Theatre and Theatre Varia in Brussels) Her play I Won’t Be Afraid is part of the After Orlando collection and her play Terrible Virtue is part of the Reproductive Freedom Anthology. My Heart is in the East will be produced by La Mama ETC in New York and in Europe.

As an actress Litwak has performed on stages across the U.S., and in Europe. Most recently in the Iranian paly White Rabbit Red Rabbit and in The Spoken and The Unspoken and as the title role in all three plays of The Emma Goldman Day Happening.

She wrote and directed The Fear Project funded by the U.S. State Department with the Archa Theatre in the Czech Republic .  She directed her play The Moons Of Jupiter at Naropa University in Colorado. She directed What Would You Name Her? At The Citizen’s Theatre in Glasgow. She has directed each of her plays for youth: GRIM, Postcards from Canterbury, The Great Journey Home, Verona High, and War: An American Dream, in New York and Massachusetts.

 

Litwak has taught theatre at San Francisco State University, the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College, Stella Adler Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, NYU, Lesley University, Whitman College, Hollins University, Naropa University as well as Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and Jadvipur University in India. She has taught theatre at the International Director’s Symposium at La Mama Umbria and has performed, taught and conducted seminars for The Global Mobility Symposium, The World Economic Forum, Performing The World, The International Leadership Association, Arts Connect International and is a frequent contributor to The North American Drama Therapy Association Conference.  

She is a convener of the Arts and Peace Commission for The International Peace and Research Association and an arts curator for The Rhodes campaign for European City of Culture. She is a core member and on the steering committee of Theatre Without Borders. She is a Fulbright Scholar.

She is the creator of Artists Rise Up, New York a creative space for artists to build actions for peace and justice in reaction to the 2016 presidential election.

 

http://arts.columbia.edu/soa50/spotlight/jessica-litwak


A modern day Shaman, she spins a healing tale of the power and potency of womanhood... Litwak possesses a remarkable transformative power.
— Los Angeles Times
It’s exciting to see smart theater that shows the highs and lows of putting up a fight - of giving birth to a baby, a culture, and a self that we want to live with. Litwak shows us that we stand both alone and with our ancestors, chosen and imaginary; according to Anne Bonney, the struggle is to “steal what makes you happy...and then defend it with your life.
— Chicago Reader