Associate Professor and Chair, Theatre Arts
Beyond instructing directing and acting courses at Puget Sound, Prof. Smith directs throughout the country. She focuses on site-specific performances, feminist theatre, interdisciplinary collaborations, and imaginative interpretations of classic work.
Her interdisciplinary performance work includes collaborations with composers, sculptors, dancers, audience and space. Her work has been seen on the stages of Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, On the Boards, 3LD, The Riverside Theatre, Dixon Place, Miller Theatre, Byrdcliffe, on the streets of Prague, and elsewhere. Prior to the University of Puget Sound, Jess taught full-time at Middlesex County College while maintaining a freelance directing career based in New York City. She has served on the board of Northwest Playwrights Alliance and on the Advisory Committee for Macha Monkey Productions and was the co-founder of LAB, an interdisciplinary training program for Seattle artists. She has trained with SITI Company, interned with Punchdrunk, assisted the Italian dance-theatre company Deja Donne, and completed the internship program with Seattle Repertory Theatre. Her essay, “The Hero in the Human” was published in the book Deja Donne: Dance in Action, published by Editoria & Spettacolo. She is an alumna of the University of Puget Sound where she earned a double major in Theatre Arts (with honors) and Psychology. She received her MFA in Directing at Columbia University under the guidance of Anne Bogart (SITI Company) and Brian Kulick (Classic Stage Company).