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I make plays

& a bit of a ruckus.

Austin Oie takes really love photos. Like this one.

Jess Hutchinson is a theatre director, dramaturg, advocate, and educator in Chicago.

As a dramaturgically-driven director, producer, and educator, my work is grounded in the text and the context of each project. Why is it essential that we make this play here and now? What larger questions are the play and its writer exploring? Whether I'm collaborating with a playwright to develop a new work or delving into an extant contemporary or classic play, I encounter each text on its own terms, working to determine what makes each piece unique. I am fascinated by innovative ways of unfolding story, revealing character, and finding more inclusive ways to invite audiences into my work.

My work as a freelance director and dramaturg has been seen in Chicago, Austin, Dallas, and Ft. Worth, I served as the artistic director of Chicago's New Leaf Theatre from 2007 to 2012 and co-founded groundswell, a new play development company originally based in Austin in 2015. For the 2015-2016 season, I was the NNPN Producer in Residence at Kitchen Dog Theatre, a founding Core Member of the National New Play Network. 

I serve as the Engagement Director of NNPN and since coming back to Chicago have taught at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Northern Illinois University, and North Park University.

Starting Autumn 2021, I began pursuing my MA in Social Sector Leadership and Nonprofit Management at the University of Chicago, with an expected graduation date of June 2023. 

Theatre creates empathy - and empathy is the primer coat for authentic social change.

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