A director, creator, and dramaturg, Kendra Jones graduated with Distinction from the MA Text & Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, and holds a BA(Hons) in Theatre Performance from the University of Winnipeg where she has also been guest faculty. Born in Winnipeg, Canada, and first trained as a dancer, Kendra spent years as an award-winning competitive dancer, then an actor, before gradually moving into Directing.
Favourite directing credits include Sea Wall, 4.48 Psychosis (Theatre By the River), Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins (Alumnae Theatre), Drunk Enough To Say I Love You, Seagulls (selardi theatre), Clever Little Lies (Assistant director to Steven Schipper, RMTC,) and Richard II (Assistant Director to Christopher Brauer, Zone41). She has co-created work under the leadership of Brenda McLean for Theatre Incarnate (Dionysus is Getting Impatient) and went on to study devised approaches to theatre creation under Andrew Visnevski at RADA, where she did a deep dive into historical texts and post-dramatic work. While studying in the UK, Kendra studied and workshopped approaches to dramaturgy under Paul Sirett, Lin Coglin, Sarah Grochala, and Maryann Hushaluk, as well as devising with Annabel Arden and Simon McBurney of Complicité, and directing under Katie Mitchell. While at RADA Kendra a leader in the creation of two devised pieces; one in response to The Duchess of Malfi, and another in response to the work of Jean Genet. This led her to her dissertation work No More Prayers, a post-dramatic stage essay created from and in response to depictions of Antigone through theatre history. This dissertation work , which comprised of the creation of a performance piece and documentation of that process, was not only lauded for its academic achievement in interrogating the creation and content of theatrical work, but also published by the Humanities Education Research Association in their InterDisciplinary Humanities Journal.
Kendra aunched her own company, impel Theatre, to make a home for her more experimental theatre creations. This includes her one-act play Dear Mama which premiered in 2013 and is currently under additional development with the support and encouragement of Andy McKim and Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. She co-created the immersive event Tonight at Eight, and created an audio installation Autel, which has been shown at RADA, The Gas Station Arts Centre, and The University of Toronto's FOOT, along with a new promenade theatrical happening Do You Know This Place? which is under development and was first tested at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Crapshoot. Her academic writing focuses on the performer-audience relationship and the ethics of performance, and has been published by Common Ground Publishing, Brunel University and the Humanities Education Research Association. Kendra is a member of the Directors Lab North facilitated by Luminato Festival and the British Council in Toronto, and the Canadian Stage Company’s RBC Emerging Artists Network.
Impel theatre is a company created by Kendra Jones in 2009 with a focus on re-thinking the way women and gender roles are portrayed in existing works in the theatre & film cannon through the creation of new work in response, which amplifies the voices and perspectives of female characters and re-thinks the role of gender. Over time, this has taken many forms, from dance to immersive theatre, to audio installations, and has expanded to work that challenges our understanding of how we relate to other people and the urban physical environments we find ourselves in.
Previous works include:
Lavinia (dance - produced 2009 @ Sarasvati FemFest, Winnipeg) - created and performed by Kendra Jones
Dear Mama (theatre - produced 2013 @ RMTC SondheimFest, Winnipeg) - written & performed by Kendra Jones, directed by Megan Andres. Further development in 2019 with the generous support of Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto.
Tonight at Eight (immersive theatre - produced 2015 @ RMTC CowardFest, Winnipeg) - conceived and directed by Kendra Jones and Stephanie Plaitin, performed by Rodrigo Beilfuss, Daina Leitold, Karl Thordarson
Autel (audio installation - produced 2012 @ RADA, London UK, re-mounted 2012 @ Gas Station Arts Centre, Winnipeg, remounted 2017 @ University of Toronto Festival of Original Theatre, Toronto) - conceived, created, and performed by Kendra Jones
The First Time (promenade audio play - produced 2013 @ MEME Festival, Winnipeg) - conceived, written, and created by Kendra Jones, performed by Pamela Roz with John Norman
popART: Project Vapour (sound installation - produced 2015 @ Winnipeg Fringe Festival) - conceived and produced by Kendra Jones, with John Norman and Chris Morley
popART: Intersection (sound & video installation - produced 2015 @ Nuit Blanche Winnipeg) - conceived and produced by Kendra Jones, with Ali Khan and jaymez *Nuit Blanche “Illuminate the Night” Official selection
Works in progress include:
Our Sister Duchess (adapted from The Duchess of Malfi, and read in workshop at Carol Shields Festival of New Work 2016, Winnipeg).
DO YOU KNOW THIS PLACE? (a new site-specific promenade theatre experience) - conceived & directed by Kendra Jones, created & performed by Kendra Jones, Liz Whitbread, and Justin Otto. First shared at Theatre Passe Muraille Crapshoot 2018, Toronto
AWARDS & PUBLICATIONS
Re-Imagining Expectation For The Theatrical Event . Immersive Theatre: Engaging The Audience. Common Ground Publishing, ed. Josh Machamer - 2017
Body, Space, Technology Journal Vol 12. [Brunel University] - Dear Mama; An Artistic Statement by Kendra Jones - 2014
Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal. Autumn Special Edition [Humanities Education Research Association] - Approaching Antigone: A Critical and Performative Analysis of Sophocles’ Antigone, Spurring the Creation of a New Post-Dramatic Work, No More Prayers by Kendra Jones - 2015
Nuit Blanche Official Selection for Illuminate the Night - 2015
Manitoba Arts Council Professional Development Grant Recipient - 2014
Recipient of Jean Murray/Moray Sinclair Scholarship from Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre – 2004, 2005, 2011
Shortlisted for Bluma Appel Mentorship for emerging directors at The Globe Theatre, London, UK - 2015
Recipient of the Jean Murray/Moray Sinclair Apprenticeship from Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre - 2015
Shortlisted for Academic Residency at York St John University (UK) - 2014
Manitoba Arts Council Student Bursary Recipient – 2011
Recipient of University Gold Medal for achievement in Honours Theatre, University of Winnipeg – 2006 Spring Convocation
“The subject matter is enhanced by some very smart choices by director Kendra Jones” — CBC on 4.48 Psychosis (July 2017)
“It drowns you in the twisted, isolated, and bittersweet mindset that comes with major depression.” — Mooney on Theatre on 4.48 Psychosis (July 2017)
“pushes past the surface of the script to transcend Kane’s words.” — The Theatre Reader on 4.48 Psychosis (July 2017)
“A master-class in the art of tragedy” — CBC Manitoba on Sea Wall (July 2015)
“Modern Marlowe has the power to shock audiences” — Winnipeg Free Press on Edward II (Oct 2015)
“bringing a more than 400-year-old play about a king dead for almost 700 years into an intriguingly modern context . . . fascinating and sure to generate discussion about how far we have -- or haven't -- come in the arena of gender politics.” — CBC Manitoba on Edward II (Oct 2015)
"Loved the performance. I could listen to Venus and Adonis over and over and never get tired. You did that so well" - Tom Hunsinger, RADA on In Secret (Dec 2011)
"Kendra brought a warmth, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness to her work." - Brian Stirner, RADA (Jan 2012)
"a thoughtful and engaged student . . . worked with enthusiasm and energy and her responses to exercises were acute and perceptive. She showed a sensitive feel for text" - Adrienne Thomas, RADA (Jan 2012)
"the thorough and deeply considered work on directing scenes to the performance project and the highly sophisticated Autel exhibition piece. Superior work throughout." - Andrew Visnevski (Mar 2012)
"carefully considered and rich. Well done." - Lin Coghlin, RADA on Trying (April 2012)
"a very clear and comprehensive understanding of the LABAN approach. . . her ability to share her understanding was excellent" - Darren Royston, RADA (April 2012)
“from an aesthetic point of view, this is a remarkably well-composed piece of theatre; from the design to the costuming to the very structure and sound, there’s a strong sense of unity. There’s great pleasure derived simply from the rhythmic progression, and in the contrasts between noise and silence.” – Kenton Smith, The Uniter onDionysus Is Getting Impatient (Feb 2011)
“you have to admire the trio’s fearless physicality and unwavering commitment to their characters; they were absolutely riveting to watch move against the stark white set” – Jen Zoratti, Uptown Magazine on Dionysus Is Getting Impatient (Feb 2011)
“Jones’ Performance is brave and tragic” – Joff Schmidt, CBC Review of Dear Mama (Jan 2013)