Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft is an Assistant Professor in the UW Oshkosh Theatre Department and teaches acting and voice for the actor. She is a professional actor and director as well as a voice and dialects coach. She studied acting at the Actors Center in New York with academy award winning actress Olympia Dukakis and Moscow Art Theatre director Slava Dolchechev. She has studied heightened voice work with Patsy Rodenberg of the Royal National Theatre in London and is a Certified Teacher of Fitmaurice Voicework® having studied with Katherine Fitzmaurice. She has studied Second City Improvisation Techniques with Second City co-founder Paul Sills and daughter, Aretha Sills and holds an MFA in Acting from Purdue University.
At UW Oshkosh, Purse-Wiedenhoeft has been extensively involved in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL). She was a Wisconsin Fellow during 2013-2014 and has received SOTL pilot grants as well as faculty development grants. She recently completed a book review of Jonathan Hart’s book, Shakespeare and His Contemporaries which will be published in the quarterly journal, Theatre History Studies in October.
When living in Milwaukee Ms. Purse-Wiedenhoeft acted professionally at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Renaissance Theaterworks, Theatre X, Bialystock and Bloom, Broadway Baby Dinner and the Playwrights Studio Theatre. She was a Visiting Artist with Milwaukee Rep’s Community Education Department where she worked extensively with their company of interns. Purse-Wiedenhoeft was a host and moderator of Inside/Outside Milwaukee, a public affairs program on WVTV Channel 18. When acting in Minneapolis for many years, she was a member of the Acting Company of the Minnesota Shakespeare Company and she also performed with The Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, the Walker Art Center, Actor’s Theatre of St. Paul, Chimera Theatre and Park Square Theatre.
Performance Piece: Lady Gregory, Creative Mentor in a Man’s World
This project has been a journey to research and develop a performance/play about the life of Isabella Augusta Persse also known as Lady Gregory. Why a play about this particular woman? She was an important contributor and player in the Irish Renaissance not only because of her abilities as a playwright and folklorist but because she opened her home in Coole Park, Galway as a central gathering place for such literary greats as W. B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, George Bernard Shaw and Sean O’Casey. She was a mover and a shaker in her day and was a consummate story teller of Irish folklore and mythology. She was an Irish playwright and folklorist whose life spanned 1852-1932 and who developed the first Anglo-Irish dialect that could be used consistently on the written page by Irish writers and poets. After becoming a widow, she started writing plays after the age of 50. During this time period she founded the Abby Theatre in Dublin, Ireland with poet and playwright William Butler Yeats. Her position as a director on the board of the theatre was an unusual position for a woman of her time. She helped establish the theatre as a producer of new Irish plays and adaptations of literature.