Morgan Jenness

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Morgan Jenness,[1] is a freelance dramaturg based in New York City.

For over 10 years, Jenness worked at the Public Theater, under both George C.Wolfe and Joseph Papp in roles ranging from literary manager to Director of Play Development to Associate Producer of the NY Shakespeare Festival. They were also Associate Artistic Director at the New York Theater Workshop, and an Associate Director at the Los Angeles Theater Center in charge of new projects. They have worked with the Young Playwrights Festival, the Mark Taper Forum, The Playwrights Center/Playlabs, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Double Image/New York Stage and Film, CSC, Victory Gardens, Hartford Stage, and Center Stage as a dramaturg, workshop director, and/or artistic consultant.[2] They have participated as a visiting artist and adjunct in playwriting programs at the University of Iowa, Brown University, Breadloaf, Columbia and NYU and are currently on the faculty at Fordham University at Lincoln Center and Pace University, where they teach Theater History.[3]

Jenness has served on peer panels for various funding institutions, including NYSCA and the NEA, with whom they served as a site evaluator for almost a decade. In 1998 Ms. Jenness joined Helen Merrill Ltd., an agency representing writers, directors, composers and designers, as Creative Director. They now work at Abrams Artist Agency as an agent representing writers for stage and screen, directors, composers and lyricists. In 2003, Ms. Jenness was presented with an Obie Award Special Citation for Longtime Support of Playwrights.[4] At its 30th Anniversary Conference in New York City, NY, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas presented the G. E. Lessing Award for Career Achievement to Morgan Jenness. The Lessing Award is LMDA's most prestigious award, given for lifetime achievement in the field of dramaturgy. As of 2015, Jenness is only the 6th recipient of the award in LMDA's 30-year history.[5]

In October 2016, Jennes became embroiled in a controversy involving an email to one of her students at Fordham, a person of color, asking for an extension on a paper. Jenness responded, "it is really disappointing to see you fall into a stereotype narrative the dominant society expects....your lateness, non attendance.. now this you are better than that Tristen....please do not do this narrative... [sic]." The student responded, claiming that his race had been used against him, stating, "I believe it is extremely inappropriate for a white professor to tell a Black student that they are becoming a stereotype."[6] Jenness subsequently apologized for this insensitivity.

Jenness was a recipient of a prestigious 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award and is currently working as an activist and artistic consultant via In This Distracted Globe.