Bio

joeljones-2

I was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and grew up in Laurens, South Carolina and Charlottesville, Virginia. I studied Anthropology, Sociology, and Classics at the College of Charleston, including a wonderful year abroad in Greece. After dropping out of graduate school in Anthropology I drove limousines in Daytona Beach, Florida, worked construction in New York and back in Charlottesville, taught in a school for troubled youth, and did many other jobs. While working at a job answering letters in a mail-order stereo company, I started writing sketches and plays for Charlottesville’s budding theater scene in the 1990s. Eventually I learned to produce and direct and worked in leadership positions for local theater companies Offstage Theatre and Live Arts as well as working as a critic and essayist for the local arts paper, Cville Review.

I’ve written more than two dozen short plays that have seen more than sixty productions in Charlottesville, New York, Boston, England, Scotland, and beyond. My most popular short works are my ‘Barhoppers’ plays–short comedies set in bars and written to be performed in bars, taverns, pubs, and restaurants. I’ve been Playwright-In-Residence of Third Man Productions in New York, which produced my bars plays every month at 55 Bar in the West Village for two years, and staged my full-length verse comedy, Shrug Like You Mean It, at the Kraine Theater. My short plays, Tragic Hero, Big Fish Little Fish, and Answer Man, appeared to rave reviews as part of the United Kingdom’s Bite-Size Plays productions in the Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe. A collection of my bar plays were published by Indie Theatre Now.

Full-length play productions include Shrug Like You Mean It, Fortune In Antarctica, Floating Girl, and The Election. Staged readings and workshops include  Floating Girl, The Amazing Bruno, Snake Girl, and the Memory Palace of Coney Island, and the unfinished Miraculous.

From 2005 till 2011 I lived in New York City where I performed regularly as an actor, storyteller and improviser at such venues as the Bowery Poetry Club, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, People’s Improv Theater, and especially the Magnet Theater. I was a founding member of the storytelling group Campfire Stories, co-producer of Black Valentines (inspired by an annual holiday party in Staunton, Va), and member of improv groups Easy Going Folks, Mono-piece Theatre, Hell Buffalo, King Canute, LL Cool JJ, and the Kicks.

In 2011 I wrote and performed a critically-acclaimed solo show Life Insurance in the New York Fringe and Washington DC’s Capital Fringe Festival.

With my lovely wife Jennifer and our lovely daughter Ellie, I returned to Charlottesville in 2012  in order to launch Big Blue Door. Through Big Blue Door I teach writing, storytelling, and longform improv, and since 2016 Big Blue Door has been based in Charlottesville’s McGuffey Art Center.

My novel House of One was published by Hypocrite Press (now out of print sadly). My sci-fi novella, Death Songs of Saturn, is included in the collection Vintage Worlds!

Contact:

joeljones@joeljones.net

photo by martyn kyle

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