Jess is an emerging regional director and educator who  believes in the power of language to foster empathy and connection. She is a fan of strong female protagonists, humor, soaring poetry, and double IPAs.

Currently, Jess is pursuing her MFA in Directing from the University of Texas at Austin, under the guidance of KJ Sanchez, Liz Engelman, Kirk Lynn and Steven Dietz. She runs the Actor Apprentice Program for the Great River Shakespeare Festival, with her program co-director, Bryan Hunt. Together, they are on a mission to eradicate “Shakespeare Voice” from the American Theatre.

Previously, she spends three years doing qualitative research for the diversity and inclusion firm, Nextions and co-founded (re)discover theatre in Chicago, IL.

Jess is also a writer – sporadically but feverishly – of plays, essays, the occasional poem and one children’s book.

You can contact her at jess.m.shoemaker@gmail.com