Jess Callahan was a relative latecomer to NEYT. At the age of 16 she saw the performance of Henry lV and, inspired, soon after became involved in shows: As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet as Juliet, and in the Good Person of Szechuan with Eric Bass. Even when she wasn’t in a show, she says she pretty much lived at NEYT, helping backstage, stage managing, composing music and helping put together costumes.
Although she was undecided about her direction for college Jess applied to Boston University’s prestigious acting program along with other liberal arts schools. When she got into BU she decided to go with it and spent the next four years earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater, further expanding her already eclectic array of theater skills.
Every summer Jess has come back to NEYT to direct shows in both melodrama and Shakespeare. In her second year she also directed King Stag at NEYT, an Italian comedia del arte script, which she also made the masks for. She went to India in her junior year to explore an eastern approach to theater, which she says is much more codified and formulaic than our theater arts here in the west. After graduating from BU Jess worked in several theater companies around Boston. First, at The New Repertory Theater where, though she started as the production assistant, she was quickly promoted to house manager. She also worked in several Shakespeare Troupes doing sound and even taught classes to a bilingual immigrant population of children in Chelsea as well as directing a version of Comedy of Errors with an adult cast that was set on a playground near her apartment.
Last year Jess was part of the alumni group that put on The Importance of Being Earnest. This year she finds herself directing the alumni production of Tartuffe.
Next year you will find her around town as she moves into the new and challenging role of being a mother.