Leslie Jacobson

Volunteer Leader and co-creator – Playwriting and Staged Performance Workshop

Leslie Jacobson has spent over 40 years producing, writing, directing, and teaching theatre committed to addressing societal challenges and giving voice to people often marginalized by the dominant culture. She has created theatre with women in the prison system, with the homeless, and in a number of communities internationally. She is the Founding Artistic Director of Horizons… Theatre from a Woman’s Perspective. Under her leadership from 1977 to 2007, Horizons introduced Washington audiences to over 100 new plays by women playwrights, receiving a variety of awards. As a Professor of Theatre at George Washington University beginning in 1977, Jacobson developed a number of new courses, including a course exploring Theatre for Social Change; and serving as Department Chair for 13 years. In June 2019, Jacobson retired from GW and became Professor Emerita of Theatre.

Starting in 2013, Jacobson ran a theatre workshop with members of the homeless community at Street Sense Media. Composer and writer Roy Barber soon joined her, and their collaboration with Street Sense writer/actors resulted in four plays, which have toured the DC area. In 2018, a play based on Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, titled Timone of DC, was performed by the Street Sense actors at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre.

Since 2003, Jacobson and Barber have created eight musical dramas with at-risk youth from the Bokamoso Life Centre (BLC) in Winterveldt, South Africa. These plays address issues in the youths’ community, such as domestic violence and teen pregnancy; and Jacobson runs a cultural exchange program between GW and the BLC. Jacobson has extended her international work to Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, where she has devised six plays on gender justice and sexual assault with students there, over the past seven years.

Click here to view video clips from some of Jacobson’s activist theatre pieces.