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Jacob Juntunen

Jacob is a playwright and scholar who heads the Playwriting MFA program at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

Jacob Juntunen heads the Playwriting MFA at SIU (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale) and is the Founding Artistic Director of Contraband Theatre. His plays include 18 Months After November, Hath Taken Away, In the Shadow of His Language, Joan’s Laughter, Under America, and Saddam’s Lions. Jacob’s play See Him? was in the Belarusian Dream Theater: eighteen theaters in thirteen countries simultaneously producing plays to raise awareness about human rights violations in Belarus. Jacob’s plays have been produced or developed by theatres such as Playwrights Horizons, the Alliance Theatre, the Source Festival, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Chicago Dramatists, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and Chicago’s DCase. Jacob’s scholarship and playwriting have been supported by the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Krakow’s International Cultural Center, the Illinois Arts Council, the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, SIU’s SEED Grant, and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. www.jacobjuntunen.com

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Taking Rural Playwriting International
Essay

Taking Rural Playwriting International

20 May 2021

Jacob Juntunen shares how the MFA playwriting program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale adapted their new play festival for the online world and how open-access software and streaming platforms helped students at the rural school transcend geography.

person leans against a wall near a guitar
Crazy for Theatre
Essay

Crazy for Theatre

Mental Illness and Theatremaking

12 December 2018

Jacob Juntunen, who has bipolar disorder, speaks with several other artists who struggle with mental illness about the realities and challenges working in the field.

Edward Albee’s Kindest Character
Essay

Edward Albee’s Kindest Character

11 November 2016

Playwright Jacob Juntunen remembers Edward Albee’s generosity toward other playwrights.

Turning History Into Reality
Essay

Turning History Into Reality

30 April 2013

Jacob Juntunen writes about the moral implications of turning fact into fiction – and the different ways we measure the ethical impact of these decisions based on medium.

Making the Radical Palatable
Essay

Making the Radical Palatable

The Normal Heart and the AIDS Crisis

5 November 2012

Jacob Juntunen sheds insight on how The Normal Heart illuminated the AIDS crisis in 1985.