Jennifer Spencer is an Edmonton based Actor, Voice/Text Coach, Director, Playwright and Theatre Educator. She is member of the faculty of the Theatre Arts Program at MacEwan University where she teaches Voice and Speech and Text Analysis as well as directing their Mainstage Productions such as Pericles, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Trojan Women, The Malcontent, and an female production of Macbeth for the 2009/2010 graduating class of the Theatre Arts Program.
She adapted and directed the classic P.G. Wodehouse novel The Mating Season for the 2010/2011 graduating class of Theatre Arts. And in the spring of 2012 she directed Thebans by Liz Lochhead for the 2012 graduating class.
When not at Grant MacEwan, Jennifer also teaches Play It Up and Advanced Acting for The Citadel Theatre School. She is currently the President of Workshop West Playwrites’ Theatre.
Jennifer is multiple Sterling award Nominee for her four part adaptation of the novel Maggie- Now, (Best New Work – Part One and Outstanding Fringe Production, Outstanding Fringe Director – Part Two. Outstanding Fringe New Work Part 3, Outstanding Fringe Director Part 3) Jennifer also won the 2005 Alberta Playwrights Network award for her first play I had a Pony, which she continues to develop in her non-existent spare time.
Maggie-Now Part 1 has gone on to be presented at the 2009 International Canoe Festival for Workshop West Theatre. Part 2: The Book Of Everything has been presented at The Serca Festival of Irish Theatre. The Maggie-Now plays are supported by The Scholarly Research Fund at MacEwan University for which Jennifer is eternally grateful as well as The Canada Council for the Arts and The Edmonton Arts Council. The entire four parts of Maggie-Now were read in chronological order at The Serca Festival of Irish Theatre in the summer of 2011.
From that reading Jennifer then rewrote her quadrilogy down to a trilogy and all three parts were presented at Fringe Theatre Adventures (FTA) in the fall of 2014 as part of FTA’s Arts at the Barns series to great audience and critical acclaim. She is currently working on bringing these plays to a wider Canadian audience outside of Alberta.
Her latest play for young audiences, Finn McCool and the Salmon of Wisdom and Other Ticklish Tales, played to sold-out houses at the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre in 2016 and plans are being made to take this play to the 2017 International Children’s Festival in St. Albert, Alberta.
Jennifer’s most recent acting credits include, Medea in Medea for The Serca Festival of Irish Theatre and the Thousand Faces Festival of Mythic Theatre, Kitty in Spokesong for Theatre Prospero at the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre, Blood Opera (Arts Alive Festival), Gertrude in Hamlet and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet both productions for Theatre Prospero. Other credits include Jewel, Pentecost, The Fever and The Country in Her Throat (Studio Theatre) and Wit (The Citadel Theatre).
In the summer of 2011 Jennifer portrayed the character of Grace in Faith Healer by Brian Friel at The Serca Festival and also the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Fringeopolis. She was was nominated in June of 2012, for an Elizabeth Haynes Sterling Award for Outstanding Fringe Performance By An Actress for that role.
A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and the Theatre Arts Program of Grant MacEwan University. She is a proud member of Canadian Actors Equity Association for which she served two terms on the Advisory and one term as Councilor for the Northern Alberta area. She is also a member of ACTRA. Jennifer also adjudicates Speech and Drama Festivals thru-out Alberta and British Columbia as well as numerous Artist in Residence programs thru Theatre Prospero. She is also certified in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method by Jeanie LoVetri. Check Jeanie out here! http://somaticvoicework.com
Jennifer’s area of scholarship is the practical training of the Voice for all aspects of stage work from speaking to singing and all other stops in between. She continues to bridge the divide between those who sing and those who speak with the integration of singing exercises alongside traditional speech and movement exercises to free the voices of her students.
Jennifer likes to work with artists that have flexible bodies, and flexible voices that cross over from singing to speaking and back again with finesse. Her work as a playwright, director and actor focuses on highly complex and literate text, either spoken or sung, which can be hugely demanding on the voice and body. She places great emphasis on the power of the spoken or sung word and challenges herself and the artists she works with to use the text/lyric without physical or vocal compromise.
“Building a voice/body takes time and patience. Time in this context needs to be measured in years and not just from class to class. Voice/Body building is not a magical process that happens overnight. As teaching artists we need to provide our students with an array of exercises, traditional voice for the stage pedagogy, alongside techniques from singing pedagogy, that will fully prepare them for the material that they are going to take on. Each text/song is different; therefore, so are the vocal and physical demands on the artist, and we must tailor our classes and practice accordingly.”
If you have more questions about Jennifer she would love to talk to you about herself anytime, anywhere. Her contact information is listed on this website so you can contact her directly either by phone or by email. Jennifer also maintains a small roster of private voice clients. So if you think you need some voice help, Jennifer might be the teacher for you!