About Me

Jeanmarie Simpson Dancing
Photo by Jade Beall.

Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop was born in rural Arizona in 1959. Her family moved to Toronto in 1970 and she fell in love with the theatre after seeing, with her 7th grade class, the legendary production of Godspell (featuring Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy and Martin Short).

She performed dozens of roles in regional theatre and stock in the US and Canada and began directing while still in her teens. Jeanmarie is Founding Artistic Director of the Nevada Shakespeare Company (NSC), from which she retired in 2008. With NSC she directed many projects, wrote original works and played myriad parts including Maud Gonne in Sailing to Byzantium, Gertrude in Hamlet, Lady M in Macbeth and Elsa in The Road to Mecca, directed by Zakes Mokae.

Jeanmarie wrote and performed 263 times (including a run Off-Broadway) the play A Single Woman, about the life of first US Congresswoman and lifelong pacifist, Jeannette Rankin. She also starred in the film version that featured Judd Nelson, the voices of Martin Sheen and Patricia Arquette and the music of Joni Mitchell.

In 2007, she appeared at the historic Beverly Hills Theatre 40 in the American premiere of the solo tour-de- force Shakespeare’s Will, produced by Leonard Nimoy.

While attending a December 2008 meeting of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Tucson branch, Jeanmarie met Shannon Cain, co-editor of the anthology Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq. The two quickly agreed that the book could make a fine theatre piece, and Coming In Hot was conceived. Following an adaptation and rehearsal period of nine months, the play opened at Tucson’s Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. Simpson began an international tour of Coming In Hot in March of 2010, taking it throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

She was commissioned by the Be the Change project to create a piece based on interviews with Dreamers; Liberty’s Children premiered at the Potentialist Workshop in Reno, Nevada in March 2014.

She toured with Mary’s Joy from 2011-2014. She was denied entry at England’s Heathrow airport in February 2015, after which she took a hiatus from theatre for 18 months. She now performs the play under a new title, The Joy. Jeanmarie is a retired member of Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild of America. She lives with her husband, Dan, in a cottage with a garden in Glendale, Arizona.

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