street sense - leslie jacobson

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

Leslie Jacobson has spent close to 40 years producing, writing, directing, and teaching theatre committed to addressing societal challenges and to giving voice to people often marginalized by the dominant culture.

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 60 new plays and playwrights through fully staged productions, and another 50 through public staged readings. Jacobson has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award in the category of Outstanding Director three times. She is a Professor of Theatre at The George Washington University, joining the faculty in 1977, and serving as Department Chair for 13 years. Leslie is currently the director of Graduate Studies for the one-year intensive MFA program in Classical Acting offered in partnership with the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

In 2003, she began developing a cultural exchange program with the Bokamoso Youth Centre in the impoverished rural township of Winterveldt, South Africa. Over the years, she and writer/composer Roy Barber have created eight music/theatre pieces with these at-risk youth, addressing challenges in their community. Twelve youth from Bokamoso are in residency at GW for a week each winter, and GW students often travel with Jacobson in the summer, to work at Bokamoso.

She has been privileged to create theatre with vendors from Street Sense at a weekly Theatre Workshop, Staging Hope, since May of 2013; and with constituents of other organizations, such as Our PlaceDC. The Street Sense Workshop has produced three performance pieces, which have begun touring to area universities, religious organizations, and high schools over the past year and a half.