Julianne Just

Credits: photo by Scott Groller

Julianne Just, a graduate of the Theatre Directing MFA Program at California Institute of the Arts, is a Los Angeles based Director whose "passionate and thought provoking" (What's on Stage) work includes the critically acclaimed Little Eyolf (4 stars, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), new play Margery and Me (REDCAT Fall Studio), Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba (Walt Disney Modular Theater), Purcell's Baroque Semi-Opera Spectacular The Fairy Queen (Walt Disney Modular Theater), a number of unique site-specific events such as the recent Suffering Fools: The Weird Sisters at the Moose Lodge #641, and concept development work for Walt Disney Imagineering.

Just began working with long-time collaborator Genevieve Gearhart in 2006 when they co-founded the interdisciplinary theatre company Mir Productions mounting productions in New York City. Since relocating to Los Angeles, Just and Gearhart have created a new company, The Speakeasy Society, specializing in site-specific immersive theatrical events.

Just will be directing The Speakeasy Society's inaugural production, KITCHEN/SUGAR/BULLET/BLANK a theatrical evolution of Maria Irene Fornes' Fefu and Her Friends with additional text by Amanda Jane Shank, opening in August 2013.

Just has collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, the Sundance Theater Lab, Mir Productions, Ping Chong & Company, La MaMa Etc., Wide Eye Productions, Collaboration Town, and Pig Broach.

The Speakeasy Society - Mission 

Founded by longtime artistic collaborators, Genevieve Gearhart and Julianne Just, The Speakeasy Society is a Los Angeles based theater company dedicated to creating innovative, site-specific theatrical events. We make theater for people who are bored with "THE THEATRE."

In this world of accelerating technology, where the distance between people continues to grow, and more and more experiences occur virtually; we offer something real. Something shared. We create immersive events in nontheatrical spaces, where audience members are thrust into the world of the play, not just left sitting in front of it. It's not always comfortable, but no one is snoring in the second row. We want to transport you. We want to get you out of your seat. And we want you to have a drink in your hand.

That being said, we aren't afraid of using the tools of our time to engage the audience in new ways. As our dependence on technology increases, our attention span decreases- the work must evolve with this awareness. We do not seek to make truncated theater, but instead to give the audience a new role. What if theater could be more like a video game, a concert, an art installation, a film, a sporting event, a party, a demonstration, or a ritual?

We want to reinvigorate those who have given up on theater, providing them with new relationships to what is occurring on stage. The lines between space, performer and spectator are constantly shifting. We want to give you agency as an audience member. Sometimes this means you choose what you watch, or what order you watch it in. Sometimes it means the audience has the ability to change the outcome of the performance. We strive to create work that feels as if it has been made just for you. We seek to create intimacy, even amidst a crowd.

We create theater for those who are willing to be energized, enraged, inspired, transported, transformed, awakened, or emotionally moved by a live experience - and also, those who aren't, but need to be. The population of our audience must be expanded. We cannot be content creating solely for the wealthy, elite, or educated. We have the power to bring people together, to have a shared experience, and to create space for dialogue and discourse. We have a responsibility to create work that is both challenging and accessible to a diverse audience.

We nurture both artists and the audience. We believe in the relationship between the process and the product. The process of creation is in many ways as important as the product itself. We work collaboratively. We empower our artistic collaborators and audiences; encouraging them to boldly engage and confront both themselves and the world around them.

** Although we specialize in site-specific events, we will create work in your theater, you just might not recognize it.