Jen is the 2021 recipient of the Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts for her work in theater and performance as a means to address social, racial and economic injustice.
“Plants is a prolific and powerful force in the study and practice of performance as a means for social awareness and change at UW. Her commitment to racial and economic equity is present throughout her work—in the topics it covers and the audiences it reaches,” notes her nominee, Michael Peterson, Professor of Art and Director of Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies.
As the 2014 Carl Djerassi Playwriting Fellow and faculty associate in the Department of English since 2015, Jen teaches contemporary theatre making practices, critical race theory, and dramaturgy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Committed to the Wisconsin Idea, Jen has collaborated with international, national and local institutions including the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, and the Open Society Foundation in Budapest, Hungary. She is a prolific director in the US and the UK, member of Actors’ Equity, and nationally known dramaturg. She was a founding artist of the London-based immersive theatrical event No Feedback and, more recently, directed world premieres for Four Seasons Theatre and Fresco Opera (both Madison, Wisconsin). As founder/artistic director of Third Ridge Theatre, Jen produced and directed Miss American Pie, the first part of HouseWork, her site-specific project that will present a play in every room of Jen’s home designed to reach new audiences in unexpected places.