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). His play Hath Taken Away (O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist; Source Festival Finalist) was read at the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Chicago Dramatists, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and had a workshop production at Contraband Theatre. His play In the Shadow of his Language (Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Contest Finalist; O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist; Princess Grace Fellowship Semi-Finalist; AACT finalist) was read at Chicago Dramatists, the Alliance Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and in Chicago’s DCase “In the Works” series, and was performed at SIU. Other plays include Joan’s LaughterUnder America, and Saddam’s Lions(published in Plays for Two). Jacob’s play See Him? was in the Belarusian Dream Theater: eighteen theaters in thirteen countries producing plays to raise awareness about human rights violations in Belarus. He also authored the book Mainstream AIDS Theatre, the Media, and Gay Civil Rights: Making the Radical Palatable (Routledge, 2016). Jacob’s scholarship and playwriting have been supported by the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Krakow’s International Cultural Center, the Illinois Arts Council, SIU’s SEED Grant, and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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.