Juanita's profile


I’m a writer and director with over a hundred works of theatre, opera, radio, multimedia, puppetry, music theater, devised projects and site-specific works presented on five continents. My work explores impermanence and change: in our individual lives, in society, and in the natural world. I’m interested in moments of fragility and loss, and the connections that create a space where something new can emerge.  

In each work, I generate a unique relationship among the elements of language, sound and silence, fostering alternatives to conventional western narrative. These alternatives are influenced by story structures found in other cultures, by structures in nature and neuropsychology, by feminist and deconstructive writings, and by my longtime Buddhist practice and study. 

The ever-increasing visibility of racial and social inequities, ongoing repercussions of the climate crisis, and the persistence of Covid-19 necessitate even deeper exploration: more radical approaches to the form of artistic expression and an embracing of rapidly evolving perspectives, both within and beyond our own cultures.




During the pandemic, co-instigator Michele Minnick and I created and produced performative events as Team Holler Joy, including Out of the Shadows. Originally conceived as a community performance and ritual that would reflect ancient festivals of renewal connected with the winter solstice, the increased restrictions in early December of 2020 inspired us to transform Out of the Shadows into an experiential audio tour with accompanying videos. Redesigned as an audio tour within an elaborate art installation, participants were guided through our tiny Baltimore neighborhood of Sabina-Mattfeldt, including individual rituals of reflection and renewal.

The urgency of the physical restrictions required by the pandemic only underscore the damage exposed in our social and natural realities, including the economic inequities laid increasingly bare; the inherent violence fostered by a culture of white supremacy; the fires and floods that are a constant reminder of the ongoing rape of the planet; the addictive stories of individualism, consumerism, capitalism. Consequently, as I continue work on projects begun before the pandemic, I see that my core questions remain the same: How do we connect? How do we support those who suffer? What matters now?

In 2019, I wrote the libretto for a Music Theatre performance, The Suitcase/Der Koffer (composer Ljiljana Jovanović) and directed the premiere mini-tour including performances at An die Musik LIVE (Baltimore), Rep Stage/Horowitz Center for the Arts (Columbia, MD) and Howard University (DC). 

Previously, I wrote the libretto for an operatic monodrama about grief and loss, Backwards from Winter (composer Douglas Knehans, at Ablaze Records). Backwards from Winter premiered at Symphony Space in 2018, in a production by The Center for Contemporary Opera and directed by Jennifer Williams. This was immediately followed by a second production by IHOS Foundation Amsterdam, directed by Konstantin Koukias, at the Dark MOFO festival in Tasmania, AU. 



Other produced writing includes the play with songs Between Trains with composer Chas Marsh (Blue Moon Plays); libretto and direction for The World is Round, from Gertrude Stein with composer James Sellars (Hog River Music); the translation/adaptation of Playing Dead from Bros. Presnyakov (Center for International Theatre Development digital publication); and the the site-specific audio promenade performance The Circle (audio play, banishedproductions.bandcamp.com). In the 1990’s I was artistic director of Hartford’s Company One Theater, directing professional premieres of early work by Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel, Donna DiNovelli, Erik Ehn, and Rachel Sheinkin. I also directed in venues from NYC to Budapest to São Paolo.

As founding director of Towson University’s M.F.A. in Theatre Program, I created a rigorous multidisciplinary laboratory environment training the self-generative artist, where I’m now professor emerita. I’m also faculty in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University and have taught and directed projects at numerous universities in the US and elsewhere. A longtime meditator and Buddhist practitioner, I’m an authorized Teacher with The 3 Doors, an international educational organization dedicated to transforming lives through meditation and community, teaching practices grounded in the Tibetan Bön Buddhist tradition.

Awards include: a Marion Fellowship in the Visual and Performing Arts; a Rubys Artist Project Grant; a Fulbright in Costa Rica, and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Artist residencies include: Ucross (WY), The Studios at Key West (FL), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts/VCCA (VA), Playa (OR) and a Scientific Delirium Madness residency at Djerassi (CA).

A member of Dramatists Guild and the Society of Directors and Choreographers, I earned a MFA in Directing from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and a BS in Theatre and Semiotics from Colorado College.

Juanita's Curated Collection

View Juanita's favorite works from other Baker Artists