Joan Lipkin is
the Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company
in St. Louis, Missouri where she founded the nationally acclaimed
Alternate Currents/Direct Currents Series, The DisAbility Project,
the Louies and Apple Pie. A strong proponent of collaboration,
she also co-founded Women CenterStage! with the Center of Creative
Arts, the Nadadada Festival at The Contemporary Art Museum St.
Louis, Democracy on Stage with the American Civil Liberties Union,
and the Mid-Sized Arts Cooperative.
A playwright, director, activist, educator, and social critic,
her award-winning work has been featured on network television,
National Public Radio, the BBC and the Associated Press. Her
work has been published and presented throughout the United States,
Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, Australia and Asia. She
was an Artist-in-Residence at Washington University for five
years and served on the faculty of the Community Arts Training
Institute for three years.
Joan specializes in creating original work with underrepresented
populations including people with disabilities, women with cancer,
LGBT youth and adults, seniors, adolescent girls, college students and youth at
She has received commissions from numerous organizations including Yale University ("Kaleidoscope"), Curve, the Foster Care Coalition of St. Louis (“Will the Real Foster Parent Please Stand Up?”) the Susan G. Komen Foundation (“The Real Deal”), SSM Healthcare (“Diverse Works”), Provident Counseling (“Hello, Is Anybody There?”), the ACLU-Eastern Missouri (“Democracy on Stage”), the Federal Reserve Board of Greater St. Louis (“Ten Percent: Sexual Orientation and Homophobia in the Workplace”), Pfizer Corporation (“The Big Fat LGBT Show of Shows”), the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (“The Sage Cycle”) and One Mississippi (“H20”).
Joan's work has been widely presented. Selected theatres include the Old Vic, the Gate, Slack Dynamics and Jacksons Lane (London), Bailiwick Repertory and Circle Theatre (Chicago), Sprague Hall (Yale University), Lincoln Center, Buffalo United Artists, Nuyorican Cafe and Hallwalls (New York), Place des Arts (Montreal), Theatre Out and the Globe (Los Angeles), Provincetown Playhouse (Provincetown), Phoenix Rising (Washington DC), the Women’s Theatre Project (Ft. Lauderdale), Red Hen (Cleveland), Six Women Playwrights Festival (Colorado) and the Gaslight and St Marcus Theatres (St. Louis).
She has served on advisory committees for the International Women
Playwrights Festival, Theatre Nausicaa (Paris), and Fragments
and Monuments Theatre Company (London). In St. Louis, Lipkin
has served on committees for the Susan G. Komen Foundation-St.
Louis, VSA arts, PROMO, Center for Creative Arts, Contemporary
Art Museum St. Louis, Edison Theatre, Gateway Men’s Chorus, Missouri
Arts Council and Pride Partnership. Currently, she is on the
executive board of the national Women and Theatre Program.
She has adjudicated or been the respondent for several competitions
including the Kevin Kline Awards, National Women Playwrights’
Competition, North American Junior Colleges Playwrights’ Competition,
Society of Arts and Letters Comedic Acting Award, Jane Chambers
Award and the Visionary Awards.
She has lectured and presented widely including at Yale University, Princeton University, Trinity College/LaMama, Oklahoma State University, Auburn University, Davidson College,
New York University, the University of London, Georgetown University,
Southwestern University, University of Texas – Austin, Washington
and Lee, Missouri School for the Blind, Women in Theatre, Association
for Theatre in Higher Education, International Playback Symposium,
International Society for Disability Studies, Pedagogy and Theatre
of the Oppressed, and Creating Change.
Some of her honors include the Award for Disability Activism (Sisters of Loretto), the 2012 Arts Innovator of the Year (Arts & Education Council), Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award (National Conference for Community & Justice), Lisa Wagaman Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service (Pride St. Louis), Outstanding Alumna Award from Webster University, a Woman of Worth Award from the Gateway Older Women's League, a Visionary Award from Grand Center, the Special Recognition Award from the Recreational Council of Greater St. Louis, Special Recognition from Arts for Life, Frederick A. Laas Award from the Missouri Citizens for the Arts, the Woman Justice Award from Missouri Lawyers, the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year, a Healthcare Hero Finalist, and the Missouri Arts Award, the state’s highest honor to individuals and institutions that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic landscape of Missouri.
Her company has also received numerous honors including the John
Van Voris Award for Community Service, What’s Right with the
Region Award for Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice
from Focus St. Louis, the Community Enhancement Award from the
Governor’s Council on Disabilities and the Midwest Gala Human
Rights Campaign Organization Equality Award.
Her work is published in Here Come the Brides!: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage (Seal Press), Studying Disability Arts and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan); Women's Comedic Art as Social Revolution, Upstaging Big Daddy: Directing Theater
as if Race and Gender Matter (University of Michigan), Contemporary
Feminist Theatres: To Each Her Own (Routledge), Amazon All Stars
(Applause), Monologues By Women, For Women (Heinemann), More
Monologues By Women, For Women (Heinemann), Sexuality in Performance (Faber & Faber), Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America (Plume/Penguin), Mythic Women/Real Women: New Plays and Performance
Pieces (Faber & Faber) Women’s Comedy: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
on Gender and Humor (Polity), Outstanding Monologues and Scenes
from the 90’s (Meriwether Publishing), 60 Seconds to Shine: 221
One-Minute Monologues for Men (Smith & Kraus), 60 Seconds
to Shine: 221 One-Minute Monologues for Women (Smith & Kraus), One on One: The Best Women’s Monologues for the 21st Century (Applause), One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st
Century (Applause), Radical Acts (Aunt Lute), Body In Performance (Routledge), 2005-2006 Best American Short Plays (Applause), 2010-2011 Best American Short Plays (Applause), Feminist Disability
Studies (Indiana University Press), Out and Allied (Add Verb
Publications), Mother/Daughter Monologues, Vol 2: Thirtysomethings (International Centre for Women Playwrights), Scenes from a Diverse
World (International Center for Women Playwrights)
Her work and the work of her company have been featured in New
Theatre Quarterly (Great Britain), Contemporary Theatre Review
(Great Britain), American Theatre, The Drama Review, National
Women Studies Journal, Australian Feminist Studies, The Dramatists
Guild Quarterly, Southern Poverty Law Center Journal, Curtain
Call, In Theater, Playbill, Theatre and Social Change, Theatre.com,
Intermission, The Purple Circuit, The Beacon, and St. Louis Magazine,
among other publications.
She is a member of the Missouri Citizens for the Arts, Arts Round Table, Dramatists Guild, Women and Theatre Program, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Theatre and Social Change Forum, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, American Association of People with Disabilities, Association for Theatre and Accessibility, Society for Disability Studies and PEN.
Some of My Best Friends Are...
Written upon the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the popularly-recognized beginning of the American Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement, this play drew culturally diverse, sold-out crowds for three and a half months when it first opened at the St. Marcus Theatre in St. Louis.
Voted Best Play of the Year by the Riverfront Times and Spotlight Magazine, "Friends" has been produced in St. Louis, Seattle, Ann Arbor, Phoenix, Buffalo and Canada.
A lively, satirical piece with comic scenes and musical numbers, it offers something for everyone. Well, maybe not Jesse Helms!
Highlights include the saga of a heterosexual couple making their way through a gay world, a boot camp run by a drag queen to instruct biological females on the tactics of femininity, and fantasies of a recovering disco-holic.
The show calls for minimal set and costuming. It has been done with casts ranging from four men and four women, to three men and three women, with cross-gendered casting. One of the male actors should be African-American. Although the play has been done with prerecorded synthesized music, we recommend a live pianist.
"Some very good jokes and an enjoyable evening of contemporary theatre in a style we see all too rarely... Lipkin doesn't allow any particular sexual preference to take itself too seriously; there are spoofs in all directions. Clear's music and lyrics are a splendid addition."- Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A sprightly, intelligent and very funny review...the only bad thing about Some of My Best Friends Are... is that there isn't more theatre like it. Keep Lipkin's name in mind and get to her work. She's the real article."- Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times
"Hilarious ... you don't have to be gay to enjoy Some of My Best Friends Are... The only thing you have to be is someone who likes to laugh."- Terry L. Murphy, Niagara Gazette
"A satirical review for people of all preferences. It's light, but not without calories."- Martin F. Kohn, Detroit Free Press
He's Having Her Baby
"bright, inventive and well staged satire" - Robert Boyd, KWMU "a delightful concept" - Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
He's Having Her Baby is a gender-reversed, pro-choice musical comedy about Joey, a 15-year old boy from a broken home who becomes pregnant his first time out with Liz, the captain of the field hockey team. Through ignorance and circumstances other than choice, a baby boy is born.
The play then deals with the aftermath of young, single, impoverished parenthood as Joey tries to contend with child care, social isolation, and sexual harassment on the job. When he finally meets a possible mate, and accidentally becomes pregnant again, he makes a different decision this time.
Through gender reversal and musical comedy, the show creates an entire universe and demonstrates the importance of reproductive freedom. The play calls for three men, three women and a piano accompanist. It may be performed on either an imaginative unit set, or in a black box setting with colorful, oversized props. The action is continuous and should be performed at a breakneck speed in broad comedy style as all the actors except the main character play a variety of roles.
"It's fantastic! This show deals with the complexity surrounding the issue of choice with lightness and humor." - Marlene Hammerman, President, St. Louis Freedom of Choice Council
"This show provides a creative, humorous, yet poignant approach to the very sensitive topics of sex and reproduction...I laugh each time I see it. Yet I can't help crying at the awful underlying truth -- that without choices, women are powerless." - Judith Widdicombe, President, Health Policy Institute
"He's Having Her Baby is one of the best things I've seen in years! And it's a fun and interesting way to discuss the issue of choice."- Laura Cohen, Director, Missouri National Abortion Rights Action League
"Outstanding! This show underscores how important it is for women to have choices. Joey's predicament is so real..." - Joyce Armstrong, Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri
Small Domestic Acts
Small Domestic Acts has been described as Brecht meets Pirandello meets As the World Turns! It is the story of a working class heterosexual couple and a lesbian couple who become friends. As problems become apparent in both relationships, two of the women turn to each other for friendship and support, and unexpectedly fall in love. They plan a future that includes having a baby. Thus, the play is a deconstruction of gender roles and the definition of family.
Originally produced at the St. Marcus Theatre in St. Louis, the play has since been published in Amazon All Stars (edited by Rosemary Keefe Curb, Applause Books), taped by the BBC and produced on several continents. It seems to be favorite with college campuses where productions have included McMaster University in Canada, University of Arizona at Tempe, Goucher College in Baltimore, and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, among others.
The play was presented at the International Women Playwrights' Festival in Adelaide, Australia and received its British premiere by Slack Dynamics Theatre Company at Jacksons Lane in London before touring to the Cottier Theatre in Glasgow. An Italian production is pending.
"Acclaimed American playwright Joan Lipkin promises a witty and searing examination of shifting sexual relationships -- a must see."- Hamstead and Highgate, London
"...unusually intelligent drama ... that hops between theatrical deconstruction, comedy and sudden, all-too-real emotional violence, as it explores love, sex, modern relationships and the rules by which we conduct them. Lipkin doesn't presume to find ready answers."- Carole Woddis, The Herald (Scotland)
"...deftly explores Lipkin's favorite themes: universal sorrows and joys, universal struggles and triumphs...sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes confrontational -- just like scenes played out in love relationships every day."- Patricia Corrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"searing and insightful...Lipkin's script is seamless, with near-constant, edge-of-the-seat momentum and blue-collar Chicago dialogue that rings true. She's particularly effective in crafting a tale that transcends the "gay play" genre to render a universal tale of longing for friendship, family and understanding."- Edward R. Allen, Chicago Sun Times
Stories from Generation X (Y, Z...)
Sex in the '90s. Getting a job. Living on the information superhighway. These are just a few of the issues and concerns explored in "Stories from Generation X (Y, Z...)"
Written by Joan Lipkin and directed by Annamaria Pileggi, who were both Artists-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis, at the time, "Stories from Generation X (Y, Z...)" asks what it means to be a young American coming of age at this moment in history.
Lipkin and Pileggi developed the play through a semester-long Performing Arts Department course called "New Performance Workshop." The play draws upon original research, personal experience and a variety of contemporary theatrical techniques, including many concepts that were explored during workshop exercises.
"With theatre increasingly experiencing competition from other forms of entertainment, we wanted to explore a work that had broad appeal but also engaged students, both as performers and spectators," said Lipkin. "While acknowledging that certain generational issues apply to many coming-of-age stories, our piece also asks how we can write and stage this particular moment in history for young adults. Obviously, some things are the same as they were for their parents. But some things, like the AIDS epidemic or the employment picture, are very, very different."
Some of the characters featured include a recent Chinese immigrant whose brother was killed in Tiananmen Square, a rising female executive from a broken family, a rape victim and a young gay man whose bisexual lover was just diagnosed as HIV positive.
Lipkin and Pileggi describe "Generation X (Y, Z...)" as an experimental piece that has benefited greatly from the assistance, the input and the perspectives of a broad range of students and faculty.
Because of sexual language and graphic violence, "Generation X (Y, Z...)" is recommended for mature audiences only.
Following production at Washington University, the play toured to the Seattle Fringe Festival, where it was a recommended pick.
That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C •
Saint Louis, MO 63108