Photo credit: Jenni Kotting

WHO I AM

Jacob Watson is a director, designer, educator, and facilitator based in Chicago, IL.

Jacob currently works as an Animateur with the Lyric Opera of Chicago on their Chicago Voices initiative, transforming the stories of community groups into original, short works of musical performance. 

Prior to this, Jacob spent four years at the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago, where he managed the expansion of Project AIM (Arts Integration Mentorship), a program that partners K-12 classroom teachers and professional artists in the creation of original, arts-integrated curriculum. Through CCAP, Jacob also served as the Coordinator of Digital Pedagogy & Mentorship with the Convergence Academies initiative, a four-year four-million-dollar collaboration with Chicago Public Schools to support 21st Century learning through integration of digital media and technology into curriculum, instruction, and culture across an entire school.

His own teaching experience comprises a diverse array of organizations including Albany Park Theatre Project, Goodman Theatre, Redmoon, Auditorium Theatre, and Urban Gateways. In addition, Jacob spent three years as the Arts Education Consultant at Creative Directions, where he facilitated professional development workshops and institutes for communities of teachers nationwide. He is also a founding member of For Youth Inquiry (FYI), a program of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), which empowers teachers, health educators, and violence prevention specialists to use participatory, arts-based methods in sexuality education. As part of FYI's first-ever public season, Jacob recently co-conceived and directed Gray Area, a new play about consent.

As an independent artist, Jacob has collaborated with theatre companies across Chicago, including Piven Theatre Workshop, Theatre Unspeakable, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Raven Theatre, the side project, and The Music Theatre Company. His work has also appeared in non-traditional spaces such as homes, churches, and schools. Jacob holds a B.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University, where he was awarded the Aurand Harris Award for Excellence in Children’s Theatre. He is currently pursuing his Master's of Education (Ed.M.) degree with a focus on Arts in Education at Harvard University.