Jenny Montgomery is a stage director who focuses on plays that explore themes of social justice and transcultural connection. She has lived in Québec since 2009, when she moved from the United States to Montréal for a Fulbright grant to create a bilingual play from interviews with immigrants, Québécois and people in between cultures. Déraciné/Uprooted examines themes of cultural belonging, identity and concepts of “home.” In March 2012, it had a public reading at the Balustrade Theatre of the Monument-National in Montréal. In 2014, Déraciné, a new version of the play entirely in French, had a reading at Concordia University in Montreal and during the events of the Carrefour international de théâtre in Québec City.
Before moving to Québec, Jenny spent seven years directing and assistant directing in Chicago. Her assistant directing credits include the world premieres of Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture, directed by Robert Falls (Goodman), and Joanna McClelland Glass’ Trying, directed by Sandy Shinner (Victory Gardens). In 2008, Jenny was the SDCF Observer for Tina Landau and assistant to Tracy Letts on the world premiere of Tracy Lett’s Superior Donuts (Steppenwolf). She has directed work in Chicago, Tennessee and Norway.
In Quebec, she has had two directing observerships with Robert Lepage: Lipsynch (2007) and Frame by Frame (2015). Frame by Frame is Lepage’s ballet project developed with Guillaume Côté and the National Ballet of Canada (Ex Machina). In 2015, she assisted directed Kevin McCoy’s Norge (Le Trident). Jenny’s first dance-based play, L’Envol, was presented in the program of Les chantiers/ constructions artistiques du Carrefour international de théâtre on May 27, 2016. L’Envol examines loss, grief and the resiliency of the human spirit. In 2019, she participated in the 13th edition of Bloc.Danse for a developmental workshop of a dance project with Esther Carré.
As an invited artist, she has led theatre workshops at Université Laval and Cégep St. Lawrence in Québec City. In Montreal, she was a part of a team that received a Fulbright Community Leadership Program grant, for which she planned and led theatre workshops on leadership and human rights with the youth of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Community Centre. Her article “Living in the In-Between” was published in alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage.
She did the English translation of the new version of Robert Lepage’s Needles and Opium. It premiered in November 2013 at Canadian Stage in Toronto. Needles and Opium won the Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Canadian Play (2014). She also did the English translation for The Library at Night, a virtual-reality project by Alberto Manguel and Robert Lepage.
She has written four plays: Déraciné, created from interviews with immigrants and Québécois; When All Other Lights Go Out, created from interviews conducted with twenty Chicagoland survivors of seven different genocides; Stain, an adaptation of Euripides’ The Children of Herakles interwoven with text from interviews with refugees from Darfur; and Raining Season, created from interviews with five survivors of three genocides.
Jenny Montgomery is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Dramatists Guild. She is an alumna of the 2005 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (New York) and the 2014 Directors Lab North (Toronto). She has served on the Steering Committee of DirectorsLabChicago since 2005, and she is the artistic director and founder of Lab Québec, a francophone directors lab based in Quebec City. As a recipient of a CAAP Grant from the City of Chicago, Jenny trained with SITI Company at Skidmore College in 2006; she also trained with SITI in Chicago in 2007 and 2008. She is an associate member of L’Artère (a developmental organization for dancers), where she serves on the board as secretary. Jenny is also a member of the Table théâtre of the Conseil de la culture des régions de Québec et de Chaudière-Appalaches, where she serves on the committee working to improve the conditions for those working in theatre in the region.