Who Am I?

Jennifer creates extraordinary theatre experiences for all ages that activate artistry, amplify ordinary stories, promote empathy, create positive change and foster community joy.

Jennifer’s Artistic Manifesto

Contact Info

[email protected]



Jennifer Ridgway is a Theatre Teaching Artist who facilitates and consults on creative, arts-making and -learning experiences, specializing in bringing artistry to life, amplifying everyday stories, promoting empathy, creating positive change, and fostering community joy. Jennifer holds an MFA in directing/theatre for young people from UNC-Greensboro, BA in acting from UMCP and an Arts/Culture Strategy certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with various institutions, big and small, including the Maryland State Department of Education, Lucy School, and Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Programs, and directed productions in the United States and China. As a co-founder of the Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic, Jennifer empowers and supports her fellow teaching artists. In 2020, she launched Yard Dramas in Prince George’s County, MD, which collaborates with clients to create customized, interactive, community-minded, often outdoor, storytelling experiences using, theatre, puppetry, music and dance. These experiences bridge connections, increase learning, and generate new ideas, pathways, and solutions to challenges.

Artistic Statement

I am a theatre teaching artist who uses the communal experience of theatre to engage participants in dialogue with self, community, and text in order to create a more just and equitable world. My workshops and residencies are individual-centered and project-based, and occur in brave, collaborative environments. Projects are age-appropriate experiences that engage individuals in the creative process, ranging from developing acting tools, such as transformation and improvisation, to devising a process drama to performing a theatrical work. 

For as long as I can remember diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion have been goals of mine, and integral to my creative process. Trained in critical literacy, I am driven by its tenets to recognize that no texts are neutral, explore multiple perspectives, probe assumptions, and take action to promote social justice. The whole person – their experiences, thoughts, feelings, needs, dreams, culture, and language – is an asset to our creative process together. I amplify what individuals share with me, become familiar with and share local and global cultures and celebrate each individual as art. 

In the process participants recognize that within the same moment more than one thing is true. Participants develop the capacity to live in ambiguity and hold paradoxes and build shared leadership as we collectively explore the question: how can we move as one but be as we each are?  The process demands each participant to listen to self, each other (community) and their art (text), and to push the existing boundaries discovered within each. Each artistic experience expands our definition of community and aims to awaken each individual to be the best possible version of themselves in the artistic process, and to bring their artistic self into the real-world.

My Manifesto

An Ever-Evolving Promise

I aim to work with artistic and educational colleagues who create extraordinary theatre experiences so that they can activate artistry, amplify ordinary stories, agitate change, and create joy in communities. 

To accomplish this goal, I will:

Create meaningful theatrical performances that appeal to every human at every stage of their life.  In the event that these scripts cannot be found, I will write or secure exceptional playwrights to write beautiful, funny, moving and fascinating theatrical stories. 

Advocate for arts education and lifelong learning, and provide opportunities for every human to enjoy the act of creating, while 

  • exploring the expressivity of their body & voice,
  • playing with dance, music, song, and puppets,
  • fostering independent thinking and collective goals,
  • enlarging perspective,
  • nurturing an openness to ambiguity,
  • developing thought, understanding and sensitivity,
  • igniting an imaginative spark in the human spirit, and 
  • inspiring happy, engaged citizens. 

Engage diverse participants, creating equal access, well-being and a sense of belonging for all, which includes race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, language, religion, geographic location, and socio-economic background.

Challenge emerging theatre artists to realize the next American theatre, and summon artists, schools, the community and the government to sponsor and endorse theatre arts education programming for all; and foster community ownership and participation in live theatre,

Secure a lifelong relationship with theatre audiences, especially those previously unconnected, and popularize the concept that theatre, a uniquely communal experience where participants converge in vital dialectics, should be attended each and every week. 

A believer of magic.



‎There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
‘I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.’
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Shel Silverstein

Jennifer, the artist

I am a brave, sensitive, sassy, flexible, loyal and passionate woman who wears a lot of hats.

This is who I am.

I am the daughter of two Prince George’s County, MD raised parents.

Born in Tucson, AZ and raised in Poolesville, MD, I am a crab-eating Marylander.

I am a proud Terp, and a Spartan.

I am an actor, singer, dancer who became a stage director, musical director, choreographer.

I am a puppeteer who likes to create and build things.

I am an artist and strong administrator.

I am an arts education and life-long learning advocate.

I am at home in nature, with family and alone.

I am ready for a leisurely road-trip across the country with a friend, or a lively international artistic project.

I am the granddaughter of woman raised on a Kentucky farm and a man from Minnesota, and who knows what else.

I am a white woman who is curious about a DNA test.

I am a vegetarian until you catch me sucking the meat off of turkey necks and trying Peking duck.

I get sweaty, makes messes and dig in gardens, and love things clean, organized and the smell of essential oils.

I am the older sister of three amazing brothers who all married phenomenal women from other countries – Bolivia, South Korea and Spain.

I am the proud aunt of a niece and nephew who are strong, brave, joyful, kind, sensitive, smart humans with the colors of the world filling their hearts. 

I am a loving sister to my mother’s Black goddaughter and her growing family.

I am in love with a man who has been a friend since I was 23 and a true partner for decades.

I am a playmate to my neighbors where I now reside with this man and his mother.

I am increasingly seeking to work with my community in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

I am a complex work of art.

Always learning, I am in process.

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