RHODESSA JONES is Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, director, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women and HIV Circle, which is a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women and women living with HIV. Rhodessa has just been invited by the prestigious DARTMOUTH COLLEGE to be a MONTGOMERY FELLOW conducting lectures and workshops in early Fall 2017. In December 2016 Rhodessa received a THEATRE BAY AREA LEGACY AWARD presented to individuals that have made “extraordinary contributions to the Bay Area theatre community.” In 2014 he received THE SUI GENERIS FOUNDATION Achievement Award for “one of a kind contributions, which benefit society in unique ways”.
In January 2016 Ms. Jones was hired by the University of California, Berkeley to teach the BLACK THEATER WORKSHOP entitled “Performance: An African American Perspective”. Rhodessa received the Theatre Practitioner Award presented by Theater Communications Group during July 2015. The award recognizes “a living individual whose work in the American theatre has evidenced exemplary achievement over time and who has contributed significantly to the development of the larger field”. On May 16, 2014 Rhodessa was the Keynote Speaker for Graduation Commencement, Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Jones was the Spring 2014 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence for the College of Letters and Science and the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In January 2015 Rhodessa was Visiting Professor at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. During 2015 Rhodessa directed the African American Theater Company production entitled, Xtigone at the Buriel Clay Theater in San Francesco. During January 2014 Rhodessa traveled to New York City to the PUBLIC THEATER to direct BLESSING THE BOATS: THE REMIX, Sekou Sundiata’s acclaimed solo theater work. Other directing credits include the upcoming new play Lost in Language by the renowned NTOZAKE SHANGE; the 2007 production of Lysistrata, produced by the African American Shakespeare Company; Eve Ensler’s Any One of Us, VDAY: Until the Violence Stops Festival, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York; and Will Power's The Gathering. To begin 2013 The Office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Art Commission presented the 2013 Mayor's Art Award to Rhodessa Jones, for her “lifetime of artistic achievement and enduring commitment to the role of the arts in civic life”. In June 2012 The U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau selected Rhodessa as an “ARTS ENVOY”! As one of San Francisco’s most revered artists she received grant support to journey to South Africa to continue her work in collaboration with Urban Voices Festival inside the Naturena Women's Prison in Johannesburg, South Africa and then journey on to participate in the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. In March 2012 Ms. Jones conducted residency activities at Brown University for the Arts in the One World Conference. During December of 2007 Ms. Jones received a United States Artist Fellowship to support her work. In 2004 she was honored with an Honorary Doctorate from California College of the Arts. Other awards include a San Francisco Bay Guardian Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, a San Francisco Community Leadership Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life in the Bay Area” in 2000. In May 2003 Ms. Jones was awarded a Non-Profit Arts Excellence Award by the San Francisco Business Arts Council, and in June 2003 she received an Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theater.
Rhodessa’s published works include: A Beginner’s Guide to Community - Based Arts, New Village Press; Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women, The University of North Carolina Press; and Colored Contradictions An Anthology of Contemporary African – American Plays (“Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women”), Penguin Group. Rhodessa groundbreaking method for working with disenfranchised populations has just been published in the book Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches, © 2017 – Routledge, "Black Acting Methods seeks to offer alternatives to the Euro-American performance styles that many actors find themselves working with."