This season is Ms. Allen’s 20th at the artistic helm of the IRT. Beginning as the IRT’s first literary manager-dramaturg in 1980, she left Indiana to pursue free-lance dramaturgy in New York, returning several years later to serve ten years as associate artistic director under mentors Tom Haas and Libby Appel before she was named the IRT’s fourth artistic director in 1996. During Allen’s tenure, the IRT has significantly expanded its education services to both adults and children, nurtured playwrights to create and produce 14 new works that examine Hoosier and Midwestern sensibilities, helped complete a $16.5m Capital and Endowment Campaign, and extended the IRT’s regional and national reputation. Her collaboration with playwrights has brought the theatre prestigious grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Joyce Foundation Grant, a Doris Duke Foundation grant as well as numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as many local foundations. She served for many years as an on-site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and has sat on several national NEA funding panels.
Janet’s leadership skills and community service have been recognized by the Network of Women in Business/IBJ’s 1999 “Influential Women in Business,” a Distinguished Hoosier Award conferred in 2001 by Governor Frank O’Bannon, and Girls Inc.’s 2004 Touchstone Award for Arts Leadership and the Indiana Commission on Women’s “Keeper of the Light” Torchbearer Award. She is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership program (Class XIX) and the Shannon Leadership Institute, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a proud recipient of the 2013-14 Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Creative Renewal grant. Originally from the Chicago area, Allen studied theatre at Illinois State University, University of Sussex, Indiana University, and Exeter College, Oxford.