Jennifer Overton

Jennifer Overton is an actor, educator and writer living in Halifax. Her professional acting credits span thirty years with major roles in theatre, television, and film. She holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Performance from York University, and spent ten years on faculty in the Acting Program in the Theatre Department at Dalhousie University. Her initial writings about the challenges and joys of life with her autistic son aired to great acclaim on CBC Radio’s First Person Singular series. The success of these reflections has brought her publication in magazines and journals as well as her first book, Snapshots of Autism: A Family Album (2003, Jessica Kingsley pub.)

Her award-winning play about her journey to acceptance of her son’s autism, God’s Middle Name (2010, Scirocco Drama), was invited to Magnetic North and enjoyed a very successful Canadian national tour, and it earned Jennifer the 2007 Robert G. Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production, as well as being twice shortlisted for the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award. It was invited to Nightwood Theatre's Groundswell Festival in 2013. An abridged school version of the play toured with Theatre New Brunswick's Young Company in 2014, and played to family and school audiences in Halifax Theatre for Young People's production as part of Eastern Front Theatre's Stages Festival in June, 2015.

Jennifer’s play about autism aimed at school audiences, Spelling 2-5-5, premiered at Carousel Players in March 2012, went on to Eastern Front Theatre's SuperNova Festival, and was remounted by Carousel for an Ontario and extensive Nova Scotia school tour in 2014. The play had its American premiere at  Children's Theatre of Charlotte in the 2013/14 season. It was invited back to CT of Charlotte for a limited tour in the 2014/15 season. Carousel Players produced Spelling 2-5-5 once again in the winter of 2016 for a southern Ontario tour which included a short run at the Grand Theatre in London.

She and husband David Overton’s one person theatre piece, My Titanic, about her experience working on the blockbuster film, premiered at the SuperNova Festival in Halifax in May 2011.

Jennifer was a contributing writer on the CBC Radio drama Backbencher.

Her new play, Minor Bird, draws inspiration from Our Country's Good and Top Girls as it examines historical views of disability and the transformative power of theatre. 

Jennifer has served on the boards of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and Playwrights Guild of Canada. 

 

Affiliation: 
Access Copyright
Affiliation: 
ACTRA
Affiliation: 
CAEA
Affiliation: 
PARC
Affiliation: 
PGC
Affiliation: 
WFNS

Awards

Award Category Year Play
Robert G. Merritt Award Outstanding New Play 2007 God's Middle Name
Robert G. Merritt Award Outstanding Production 2007 God's Middle Name
play