biography – community

Joanna Bennett headshot

Jo has been an actor her whole life (ACTRA, CAEA). Interpreting came along later and during her 16 years of freelancing in Ontario, she has found ways to combine both careers.

Jo was the first Canadian to attend TDF’s Interpreting for the Theatre program at the Juilliard School in NYC. (articles under ‘useful links) Upon her return she co-founded the Theatrical Interpreting Resource Group to assist professional companies in Ontario. Since then she has interpreted (in traditional, placed and integrated approaches) for such theatres as The Canadian Stage Company, Lorraine Kimsa, Soulpepper, Talk is Free Theatre and the Tarragon. 
Wanting to try voice interpreting, Jo was double cast for the role of Titania in a signed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at NTID’s Performing Arts in Rochester, NY in 2005. In 2007 Jo once again was invited to be a voice performer in Picasso Pro‘s showcase of Marivaux’s The Dispute, directed by Mark Christmann.

ASL Showcase – Toronto 2006

On the acting front, Jo produced a theatrical event in 2006 at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto called The ASL Showcase that featured 7 original stories. Jo acted in one she wrote called Angel vs Devil that featured two signing unearthly characters “on the shoulders” of an unaware speaking man, coercing him into outrageous behaviour!

Since then she has acted in Talk is Free Theatre’s Canadian premiere presentation of Shumskawsling (written by Michael Cyr, a Deaf playwright) with several Deaf and hearing actors.

For pictures of some of these projects click on the ‘photo gallery’.

Creating a niche as a consultant, Jo worked with Realwheels theatre in Vancouver who created an exciting project with Pound of Flesh Theatre aiming to produce classical theatre with performers who are Deaf. For more information click on “Shadows of the Sun”.

In the TV/film world, Jo has been performing for a couple of decades, most recognizably in commercials. Jo co-founded Eyes on Camera!, an organization that works with film/TV casting directors when hiring Deaf performers. She has had the pleasure of working with many actors who are Deaf in front of and behind the camera. Most enjoyable was acting with Anselmo DeSousa on This is Wonderland and Troy Kotsur on DOC.

Jo has enjoyed facilitating “drama for the interpreter” workshops and teaching “interpreting in a theatre setting” at the interpreter training programs in Windsor, Sudbury and Toronto, as well as at the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) conferences.

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~ by Jo Bennett on August 28, 2009.