Shedding Light on Colorado Stories Through Theatre

For Immediate Release
Contact: James Bruenger, Associate Artistic Director

Shedding Light on Colorado Stories Through Theatre:
Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre 2019 Writer in Residence:
Jessica Kahkoska

TRINIDAD, CO – As part of its commitment to the development of new and emerging writers and the fostering of new work, Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre (SCRT) and Artistic Director Eli Carpenter are proud to announce the 2019 Writer in Residence, Jessica Kahkoska.

Beginning in the summer of 2017, Artistic Director, Eli Carpenter introduced the SCRT to the New Works Initiative. The purpose of the New Works Initiative is to give theatrical writers a space to develop their work with actors, creating space to write and rewrite. While the residency ultimately culminates in a public presentation, the audience is guided to see the work as a draft in process and to understand that the performance may be a partial component of a whole piece.

As a writer, dramaturg, and performer, Jessica Kahkoska’s work has been seen on stages across Colorado, in New York City, and nationally. In Colorado, she has worked at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Local Theater Company, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, the Athena Project, and she is a co-Regional VP of the Mountain West Region for Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA). In 2019, Jessica and Notch Theatre Company launched Wild Home, a community responsive project that uses theatre to document the struggles and hopes of rural communities under serious threat from extractive industries. After a year of outreach and collaboration with community in Colorado’s North Fork Valley, Wild Home was presented in partnership with the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition at Delicious Orchards in April 2019.

While in Trinidad as SCRT’s 2019 Writer-in-Residence, Jessica will be working on two projects: In Her Bones, a research-driven play about crypto-Judaism in Colorado’s San Luis Valley (2019 Denver Center for the Performing Arts “Powered by Off-Center” Residency) and the The Death of Desert Rose, a new Western musical about female outlaws (collaboration with New York composer Elliah Heifetz, 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship). Although starkly different in genre and content, both projects uncover and celebrate stories about women in Colorado and the West, challenging dominant historical memory and mainstream narratives about Colorado’s past and present.

In Her Bones (formerly titled THE UNTITLED CRYPTO-JUDAISM PROJECT) was originally developed through the 2019 Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) “Powered By Off-Center” Residency Program. During this residency, Kahkoska conducted a community-responsive research process in Colorado and New Mexico, including extensive oral history interviews, partnership with local archives and research institutions, and community partnership with local organizations. As Writer-in-Residence at SCRT, she plans to continue this research process with the Trinidad and surrounding communities.

“We could not be more thrilled to begin this relationship with Jessica Kahkoska as our 2019 Writer in Residence,” says Carpenter, “Jessica’s deft writing beautifully exemplifies the work and artists we look forward to growing and working with in Trinidad, Colorado. Her work is emotional, complex, and filled with historical relevance linking our spirit between the past and today. Most of all, her work is utterly human.”

The New Works Initiative will present two readings of Kahkoska’s work on Saturday, July 27th at 2pm and Sunday July 28th at 7:30pm.

Tickets can be purchased in person at our box office, 131 W. Main Street, by phone, 719-846-4765, or online at

About Jessica: Jessica Kahkoska is a writer, dramaturg/researcher, and performer. Her projects include AGENT 355 (with Preston Max Allen, Upcoming Space Jam Residency with Roundabout Theatre Company and New Play Workshop at Chautauqua Theater Company), IN HER BONES (Denver Center for the Performing Arts “Powered by Off-Center” Residency), WILD HOME: AN AMERICAN THEATRE ODYSSEY (with Ashley Teague and Notch Theatre Company), THE DEATH OF DESERT ROSE (with Elliah Heifetz, Dramatists Guild Fellowship), and LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT (with Michael Bello). In Colorado, she has worked with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Henry Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Musical), Theatre Aspen, Creede Repertory Theatre, North Fork Valley Creative Coalition, Local Theater Company, Athena Project, and Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Outside of Colorado, her work has been developed and presented at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union, Village Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Chautauqua Theater Company, the Drama League, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, Barn Arts Collective, Ars Nova, (le) Poisson Rouge, Musical Theatre Factory, the UCROSS Foundation, and American Music Theatre Project. She is the recipient of the Marion International Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts, the American Antiquarian Society Fellowship for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers, and a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship. Dramaturgical work includes new play/musical development Off-Broadway and regionally, and she is currently a Co-Regional Vice President for the Mountain West region of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA). Favorite acting includes National Sawdust, the Bushwick Starr, American Stage Theatre Company, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. Graduate of Northwestern University.

Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre
131 W Main St
Trinidad, CO 81082

See more blog posts

Related Articles

Artist Talk on Art – October 15th, Artist Dawn Howkinson Siebel will lead a discussion on her exhibit, better angels, the firefighters of 9/11

Artist Talk on Art  Public Program, Saturday, October 15th, 2 p.m. at MoF. Artist Dawn Howkinson Siebel will lead a discussion on her exhibit, better angels, the firefighters of 9/11. 600 Main Street, Walsenburg, CO. About Better Angels: Dawn Howkinson Siebel’s exhibit, Better Angels consists of paintings that depict the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11. Each painting is a portrait of these fallen firefighters on a 6” x 4” burned block of Baltic Birch. The compositions are in black, white, and raw umber. The complete work is the totality of all portraits in seven rows of 49 columns that span 48 inches by 21 feet. This exhibit has traveled around the country. To learn more visit  or  Light refreshments will be served. This exhibit

Read More »