fbpx jjuntunen | HowlRound Theatre Commons
Jacob Juntunen

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

Before Jacob Juntunen was a father heading the playwriting MFA at SIU and living in St. Louis, he was a 1970s California kid watching PBS puppets. In the 1990s, Jacob was a high school dropout making sandwiches at a deli in Portland. The teachers at Clackamas Community College and Edward Albee saved him. In 1998, he saw a VHS tape of Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre and that made him live in Poland repeatedly. His plays include See You in a Minute, 18 Months After November, Hath Taken Away, In the Shadow of His Language, and Joan’s Laughter. He founded Contraband Theatre in 2016. You can read his plays on New Play Exchange. www.jacobjuntunen.com

A row of actors read from scripts on music stands.
What Makes St. Louis a Flourishing Ecosystem for New Plays and Cooperative Production Models
Essay

What Makes St. Louis a Flourishing Ecosystem for New Plays and Cooperative Production Models

13 February 2024

Jacob Juntunen traces the collaborative network of theatres and theatremakers in St. Louis that share resources and make the city a rich environment for new play development. 

A map with two-faced performing arts symbols located within the US and in northwestern Europe.
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.

Photo of a red ribbon on a hand.
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.

Subscribe to HowlRound

Sign up for our daily, weekly, or quarterly emails so you never miss the latest theatre conversations.

Sign me up

Supporting HowlRound

We fundraise to keep all our programs free and open and to pay our contributors. Thank you to all who make our work possible!

Donate today