Jeff Barker (playwright)

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Jeff Barker
Born 1954
Nationality American
Alma mater greenville College,
Northern Illinois University,
University of South Dakota
Genre play

Jeff Barker (born 1954) is an American playwright, director, professor, and actor. He has written plays such as Kin, Unspoken for Time,[1] and September Bears. He is an advocate for the restoration of the ancient plays of Israel, co-creating Terror Texts (with composers Joseph Barker and Heather Josslyn-Cranson)[2] and And God Said (with composer Ron Melrose).[3]


Barker grew up in Mendota, Illinois. His first play was written and produced during his time in undergraduate school at Greenville College and continued on to earn an M.A. at Northern Illinois University as well as an M.F.A. at University of South Dakota.[4] Since 1988, he and his wife Karen have held professorships in acting and directing at Northwestern College. He has over thirty produced scripts to his credit. September Bears, his 9/11-based play, appeared off-Broadway in 2003.[5] Barker and his wife have three children and make their home in Orange City, Iowa. Barker is an elder in the Reformed Church in America and also serves on the faculty of the Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, FL.[6]

Selection of plays and musicals[edit]

  • Sioux Center Sudan
  • Albie’s Honor (commissioned by Saltworks Theatre Company)
  • September Bears
  • Kin: The Trial of Carrie Buck
  • Unspoken for Time (Dramatic Publishing Company, Inc.)
  • Cross Purposes
  • The Final Approach of Flight 232 (adaptation)
  • When Scott Comes Home
  • Super Bowl/Dionysus
  • The White Leopard (written with Karen Bohm Barker)
  • Joseph and His Brothers

Non-dramatic publications[edit]

  • "The Power of Telling a Story" (chapter in Church of All Ages, 2008)
  • "The Other Driver" (essay in Perspectives, October, 2004)
  • "Ancient Israelite Dramas" (essay in Christianity and Theatre, Spring, 2004)
  • "Danyale’s Wedding" (essay in Christianity and Theatre, Spring, 2000)
  • "One Lonely Saturday" (story in Church Herald, January, 1994)
  • "Starting a Drama Ministry" (co-authored with Karen Bohm Barker, Church Herald, October, 1992)


  • Iowa Professor of the Year, 2006
  • The Endowed Professor of Northwestern College, 2006–2011
  • Finalist for the Arlin G. Meyer Prize, 2005 (for Kin)
  • Council for Christian Colleges & Universities alumni award winner, 2004
  • Gold Medallion, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, 2003, Region V
  • Grand Prize winner of the 2002 Iowa Playwrights Competition (for Kin)
  • Medallion Award, Seattle Pacific University, 1997
  • Meritorious Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival, for the script of Unspoken For Time, 1995
  • Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's Michael Kanin Playwriting Competition, Second Place nationally, Short Play category, 1993 (for The Final Approach of Flight 232)
  • Teacher of the Year (shared with Karen Bohm Barker), Northwestern College, 1991


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External links[edit]