Jennifer Ridgway

Artist Credentials
Maryland Wolf Trap Teaching Artist
About this Artist

Jennifer Ridgway is a teaching artist, imagineer, and consultant who activates artistry, amplifies ordinary stories, increases empathy, agitates change, and creates joy in communities. She holds a BA from the University of Maryland, College Park in acting, a MFA from University of North Carolina, Greensboro in directing/theatre for youth, and a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in arts and culture strategy. She is a graduate of the Anti-Racist Educators in Arts Learning Lab (A-REALL). In 2017, Jennifer co-founded the Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic to support, empower and advocate for TAs. When her collaboration with internationally acclaimed music teaching artist Julia Kamanda was postponed, Jennifer launched YARD DRAMAS, a strategy to engage Prince George’s County, MD individuals and communities juggling virtual worlds, social isolation, and changing situations. Jennifer is committed to and ready to reset, reimagine, and play our way into a new world that is just and equitable for all.

I am a theatre teaching artist who uses the communal experience of theatre to engage participants in dialogue with self, text, and community in order to create a more just and equitable world. My workshops and residencies are individual-centered and project-based, and occur in brave, collaborative environments. Projects are age-appropriate experiences that engage individuals in the creative process, ranging from developing acting tools, such as transformation and improvisation, to devising a process drama to performing a theatrical work. For as long as I can remember, diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion have been goals of mine, and integral to my creative process. Trained in critical literacy, I am driven by its tenets to recognize that no texts are neutral, explore multiple perspectives, probe assumptions, and take action to promote social justice. The whole person—their experiences, thoughts, feelings, needs, dreams, culture, and language—is an asset to our creative process together. I amplify what individuals share with me, become familiar with and share local and global cultures, and celebrate each individual as art. In the process, participants recognize that within the same moment more than one thing is true. Participants develop the capacity to live in ambiguity and hold paradoxes and build shared leadership as we collectively explore the question: how can we move as one but be as we each are? The process demands that each participant listen to self, each other (or their community) and their art, and to push the existing boundaries discovered within each. Each artistic experience expands our definition of community and aims to awaken each individual to be the best possible version of themselves in the artistic process, and to bring their artistic self into the real-world.