Jennifer Wise

Jennifer Wise is a playwright, translator, dramaturg, and theatre historian whose work is published in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. Her first book, Dionysus Writes (Cornell UP, 1998), about the invention of theatre in ancient Athens, was nominated for two book awards in the U.S. and is read around the world. Her translation of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Methuen, 2013), commissioned by Brian Richmond for the Phoenix Theatre at the University of Victoria, has since been staged at York University, Toronto’s Great Hall Black Box, MTU Theatre in Michigan, and Lyra Theatre in NYC (with a 2017 staged reading at the Shaw Festival, and a production at Carnegie Mellon University in 2018). This translation was chosen by Brecht’s heirs as the first new English version of the play to be published in almost 40 years.

Wise’s verse and prose translation of Aristophanes’ Frogs, created for the Phoenix in 2000 and published in the Broadview Anthology of Drama (2003), was also produced at the University of Denver in 2004. For the International Year of Astronomy (2009), Jennifer provided a feminist historical play about the imprisonment of Galileo’s daughters. Orbit was a finalist in the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2011, premiering at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario, in 2013. Her site-specific comedy The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West, first performed in Victoria as part of the 150th-anniversary celebrations of Canada’s oldest synagogue, has since been staged in other historic venues—the First Narayever Synagogue and Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto—as well as at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This play won the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition in 2013. Her site-specific comedy with songs, A Queer Trial, which reenacts the real-life 1860 trial and acquittal of Victoria’s flamboyantly gay town crier, was performed in Bastion Square in April of 2017, and was a finalist in Theatre BC’s Canadian Playwriting Competition.

For the Belfry Theatre, Jennifer has provided new-play dramaturgy (Agnes B, by David Ferguson) and articles for its magazine (about I Am My Own Wife, and Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike). Jennifer has also provided talks for the Belfry (about Chekhov) and for Pacific Opera Victoria (about Mozart, and about Hellman’s Little Foxes and Blitzstein’s Regina). Jennifer served as dramaturg for Alon Nashman’s celebrated one-man show Kafka and Son, which continues to tour internationally.

Jennifer Wise is also an associate professor of Theatre History at the University of Victoria, specializing in Greek tragedy and comedy. Her articles have appeared in such venues as Theatre Research International, Theatre Survey, Theatre Research in Canada, Reader’s Digest, and Arethusa.