Jo Stewart is a poet and theater maker. She uses a combination of gesture, voice, and text to make performance that investigates entrapment, borders, and freedom. Using poetic texts as a model, her works diverge from linear storytelling traditions. Narratives unfold via a system of visual rhymes and repetition. Poetic devices acquire concrete dimensions: em-dashes are rendered as barriers, enjambed lines as windows. From the architecture of each story emerges spaces of captivity and the possibility of freedom. She looks to the dead, unborn, flora, and animal life as guides and protagonists in these stories. By asking these beings to speak through her work, she strives to free them from objecthood, thereby freeing herself from objectification and offering the radical imagining of a borderless world.
Jo has previously been an artist in residence at Azule (2019), the Old American Can Factory (2019), the Anderson Center at Tower View (2018), Atlantic Center for the Arts (2018), MAAS (2017), and Arts Letters and Numbers (2016). She is the newest member of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, currently touring Cellular Songs. Stewart graduated from Reed College with a BA in English literature (2014) and continues to study poetry under the guidance of experimental poet Tracie Morris. She is a cross-disciplinary MFA candidate in the Literary Arts program at Brown University.
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