Jennifer Tarver

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Jennifer Tarver [1] is a Canadian theatre and opera director and creator, whose passion for classic texts as well as cutting edge contemporary work defines her career.

Life and Career

Born in Edmonton Alberta and raised in New York, Jennifer Tarver has a Bachelor of Music in performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied clarinet. In 1998, she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in drama, and she also has an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta. She has one son with her partner Liz Upchurch.

In 2004, Tarver became Associate Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto, which develops new and innovating works. She was appointed as Director of The Opera Studio at the Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy from 2007-2009. She is currently the Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company and has been since 2013.

Tarver has directed at the Stratford Festival, the Nightwood Theatre, the  Tarragon Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, and the fall and Summerworks festivals, among many other major theatre companies. Along with directing theatre and Opera, Tarver has also founded her own Theatre company called Theatre Extasis.

For her own company, Theatre Extasis, she has created and adapted Not FaustHistory PlayShe’s Gone Away, a solo dance piece, with choreographer Susanna Hood, and That Time – Five Beckett Shorts. Her original theatre piece, What Makes a Man, based on the songs of Charles Aznavour, opened at the Canadian Stage in 2014.



  • Waiting for Godot (2013) 
  • The Homecoming (2011) 
  • King of Thieves (2010)  
  • Zastrozzi (2009)
  • Krapp’s Last Tape (2008)
  • Crave (2007) 
  • Thom Pain (2007)
  • The Dwarfs (2008)
  • That Time- 5 Beckett Shorts (2004)


  •  Ines- a contemporary Fado opera (Queen of Puddings Music Theatre)
  • The Rape of Lucretia (University of Toronto)
  • L’Enfant e les Sortilèges
  • The Magic Flute
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Royal Conservatory of Music).

Awards and Nominations

  • In 2010, she was nominated for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.
  • Best director 2007 - NOW Magazine
  • The 2006 Pauline McGibbon Award in Directing
  • Her 2006 work That Time - Five Beckett Shorts, garnered eight Dora Award Nominations and four wins, including best director and best production
  • The 2002 John Hirsch Directors Award





Name:Jennifer Tarver