A writer and theatre-maker Jo is the founder and artistic director of Barbarian Productions (theatre company). Recent theatre works include Sing It To My Face, Political Cuts and Grand Opening.
Jo has received the Robert Burns Fellowship, an Arts Foundation New Generation Award and the Bruce Mason Award for playwrighting. She collaborates internationally with visual artists, theatre makers and activists, most recently in Paris, Moscow and Istanbul with Swedish visual artists Goldin+Senneby at the biennales in each city.
Jo often collaborates with communities and lesser-heard voices. She is part of a team who have re-purposed a disused bowling club in Vogelmorn, Wellington as a creative community space, see www.vogelmorn.nz. She teaches at Massey University, Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and on the MFA at Victoria University. Jo is a popular public speaker and progressive thinker about the arts’ relevance in society, and an active part of the social enterprise movement.
Her new work Soft N Hard is currently touring New Zealand. Jo’s writing has recently appeared in the Journal of Urgent Writing, Pantograph Punch and Future Conditional: Notes for Tomorrow. See www.barbarian.co.nz for more information.
Jo holds the third University of Auckland/MKWC combined residency for the year and is working on a new creative non-fiction book that examines how creative thinking could achieve radical social change. Jo says ‘This book takes readers through the secret counter-cultural powers that artists (and all of us) have access to. By breaking down six major skill sets in any creative mindset, this book explains how thinking differently can increase resilience, help to describe the complex situations we find ourselves in the 21st century, allow innovation, create non-hierarchical working spaces and offer us the skills we need in this changing world. This is not a ‘how to be an artist’ manual. This is a radical uncovering of the hidden mystical powers that art uses, and shows artists and non-artists alike how these frameworks can help us create the change we want to see in our societies’.