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RHODESSA JONES is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, singer, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Founder and Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which is a performance workshop that is designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women. Beginning in January of 2009 Rhodessa will embark on Cultural Odyssey's 30th Anniversary tour performing her newest performance piece, The Love Project, written in collaboration with noted writer Pearl Cleage and Zaron Burnett, at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York City, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, Florida, 7 Stages in Atlanta and many other locations. In November 2008, for the first time in South African history, Rhodessa Jones directed a full-length theater production with female inmates inside the Johannesburg Correctional Services (popularly known as "Sun City prison"). This was Rhodessa's second visit to South Africa hosted by the Urban Voices Festival. Ms. Jones is currently collaborating with the Women's HIV Program at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center conducting workshops and residency activities that will lead to a world premier performance in 2010.
During 2008 Rhodessa performed, The Love Project at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Denison University in Granville, Ohio, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, and the National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina. In December of 2007 Rhodessa received a United States Artist (USA) Fellowship to support her work. In June 2008 Rhodessa gave the Keynote Address at Chicago's DePaul University for the Race, Sex, and Power Conference, and in May she gave the Keynote Address at New World Theater's Intersections Conference in Amherst, Massachusetts. During the month of September 2007 Rhodesssa was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland for the Women's Studies Department. She was also the Artistic Director of the San Francisco International Theater Festival that took place in the spring of 2007. During July and April 2007 Rhodessa was Artist-in-Residence at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago. In June 2006 she directed a public reading for Eve Ensler's, VDAY: Until the Violence Stops Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Ms. Jones was honored with an Honorary Doctorate from California College of the Arts in 2004. Rhodessa has received many awards for her work including a GOLDIE Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 2003, an Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theater in 2002, and a San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award commending her for developing the Medea Project as "an intersection of art, politics and social rehabilitation." In June 2001, her film collaboration We Just Telling Stories, a film profiling Ms. Jones and her work with the Medea Project in the San Francisco County jails, won Best Documentary at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. This award paralleled the 2001 release of a book on Ms. Jones' work entitled Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and the Theater for Incarcerated Women by Rena Fraden, Ph.D. with a forward by Professor Angela Davis.
Ms. Jones published works include Rhodessa Jones: Theater for a New Millennium; Extreme Exposure: An Anthology of Solo Performance in the Twentieth Century, Theater Communications Group, 1999; "Deep In The Night," Journal of Medical Humanities, Vol. 19, No. 2/3, Summer 1998 (performance script); and the plays Big Butt Girls and Hard-Headed Women for the 1996 Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays.