Kendra Jones is a Toronto-based artist whose work mingles between theatrical performance and performance art; her interest lies in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the theatre, and the kinds of discussions that can stem from encounters with theatrical creation. She graduated with Distinction from the MA Text & Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, and also holds a BA(Hons) in Theatre Performance from the University of Winnipeg.
Her work, which alternately takes the form of directing, devising, writing and performing, is comprised of a unique blend of dance, physical theatre, and academic argument and has been showcased at various festivals in Canada and the UK. She has directed for Theatre By The River (Sea Wall, 4.48 Psychosis), Sarasvati FemFest (Shorts!, The Dance of Sara Wiens), and selardi theatre (Drunk Enough To Say I Love You, Seagulls), and many fringe and indie theatre productions in Winnipeg and London, UK. She had the pleasure of assistant directing under Steven Schipper for Clever Little Lies at RMTC, and under Christopher Brauer for Richard II with Zone41 Theatre. As a writer-creator, her self-produced pieces with impel theatre include a one-woman show Dear Mama, an immersive evening inspired by Noel Coward called Tonight at Eight, and several audio theatre experiences, including Autel, which has been shown at RADA, The Gas Station Arts Centre, and The University of Toronto's Festival of Original Theatre. Her installation Intersection was an official Illuminate The Night selection for Nuit Blanche Winnipeg (2015), and her adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II was produced by Theatre By The River. She is currently working on an adaptation of The Duchess of Malfi called Our Sister Duchess, which reframes the play in relationship to contemporary cultural experiences of violence against women; it was read as part of the Carol Shields Festival of New Work at Prairie Theatre Exchange in 2016.
Her academic writing has been published by Common Ground Publishing, Brunel University and the Humanities Education Research Association. She is a company member of Theatre By The River, Artistic Director of her own company impel Theatre, and has been an instructor at Prairie Theatre Exchange School and the University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre & Film.
Kendra is proud to be invited to the 2018 Directors Lab North in Toronto, with the support of Luminato Festival & British Council.
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) - created and performed by Kendra Jones
Dear Mama (theatre - produced 2013 @ RMTC SondheimFest) - written & performed by Kendra Jones, directed by Megan Andres
Tonight at Eight (immersive theatre - produced 2015 @ RMTC CowardFest) - conceived and directed by Kendra Jones and Stephanie Plaitin, performed by Rodrigo Beilfuss, Daina Leitold, Karl Thordarson
Autel (audio installation - produced 2012 @ RADA, re-mounted 2012 @ Gas Station Arts Centre, remounted 2017 @ University of Toronto Festival of Original Theatre) - conceived, created, and performed by Kendra Jones
The First Time (promenade audio play - produced 2013 @ MEME) - 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).
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
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)