Jane Howard is a freelance arts journalist, critic, and researcher who works throughout Australia with a focus on performance. She writes both longform and shortform reviews, essays, and opinion pieces, typically focusing on theatre, contemporary performance, and dance.
Jane is a contributing editor at Kill Your Darlings Journal and a regular contributor to Guardian Australia. In 2016 she joined the Emerging Writers' Festival as the director of that year's Digital Writers' Festival, and her writing has appeared in publications including ABC Arts Online, RealTime, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, and Fest Magazine. Translated into multiple languages, she has worked for the Guardian across Australia and in Asia, and her work has been published in Scotland, Canada, and the Czech Republic.
Jane has been a bronze award finalist at the SA Media Awards and was shortlisted for the inaugural Express Media Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person in the Literary Arts. She is currently working on a book about art and grief, supported by a 2017 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship.
Jane is particularly interested in the ways criticism can artistically and organically respond to the art forms they engage with, and she explores this through experimental criticism projects, which have been supported by organisations including The Lifted Brow and the Performance & Art Development Agency. You can follow her work by subscribing to her semi-occasional newsletter Excess Thoughts.
As an artistic collaborator, Jane has worked with Brown Council (writer in residence, Mass Action: 137 Cakes in 90 Hours), Terrapin Puppet Theatre (stories editor, I Think I Can), and Mish Grigor with Vitalstatistix (artist, Man O Man). As a researcher, Jane has worked on Flinders University's AusStage Project, the Australia Council's Women in Theatre report, and with Playwriting Australia. Her work has been cited in publications including Platform Papers, How to Write About Theatre and the Contemporary Theatre Review.
She has spoken about criticism and on other topics for organisations including the Emerging Writers' Festival. the National Young Writers' Festival, The Wheeler Centre, the Melbourne Festival of Arts, Adelaide Film Festival and the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and has taught workshops for Adelaide University, Signal, Express Media, Access2Arts, and Guardian Masterclasses.
Contact Jane at email@example.com
I am passionate about and inspired by performance that is feminist, political, and resolutely contemporary. I have also been known to cry and be utterly overwhelmed in the face of performance that is none of those things. I want to see work that makes me feel deeply, and makes me struggle to find the right words to say.
Performance will never truly be captured in the written word – but I want to try. I want to write criticism that locates art in our lives as we live them today. I strive to capture the elusive spirit of art, translate it into the written word, and send something of its sprit out into the world again. I think collaboration is essential for good criticism, collaboration comes in many forms, and I need to always push my work and the way it is created.
I hold art to high standards. I believe it can think deeply and move us greatly. I think it probably won't change the world, but it can change people. I love performance in converted office blocks and performance in concert halls; I love art that was created decades ago and art that hasn't quite figured itself out yet. I believe philosophies and bios should be updated regularly.
When seeing performance I hold my emotions close to the surface. I fall in love with it over and over and over again.