Joe Turner Cantu

Joe Turner Cantú

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Arts

An actor trainer, director, and playwright, Joe is head of the acting area and is a teacher of acting, directing, and playwriting. His teaching expertise is in acting process, acting styles, and voice. For ten years, Joe was artistic director of Oxford Shakespeare Festival (OSF), a summer theatre on the Ole Miss campus.  His professional playwriting credits include several productions throughout the country of his play Rock and Betty Dance, winner of a Rockefeller playwriting grant award. His play American Cowgirls performed at a theatre festival in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. He served as director of two playwriting festivals, the New England Festival of New Works and the Texas Playwrights Festival. His artistic directing background includes Artistic Director of Penobscot Theatre Company in Maine in the early 1990s and as Associate Artistic Director of a Houston equity theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, for four years in the 1980s. Joe's professional directing credits include such companies as Grand Canyon Shakespeare Festival, Capitol City Playhouse in Austin, the Latino Theatre Festival (St. Ed's) in Austin, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Penobscot Theatre Company. For OSF, Joe directed Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet, Twelfth Night,  The Merchant of Venice, Cymbeline, Othello, The Compleat Works of Wllm Shakspr (Abridged), A Midsummer Night 's Dream, and As You Like It. In July 1995, the North American Cultural Institute of Perú brought Joe to Lima to direct a professional Spanish language production of Tennessee Williams' La Noche de La Iguana at the Teatro Bi-Nacional. In 2003, Joe produced and directed Ole Miss students and faculty in a Spanish translation of El Zoo de Cristal (The Glass Menagerie) which was chosen to represent the US at the first Lima, Peru, International Theatre Festival. Joe directed Hamlet for the 1996 Grand Canyon Shakespeare Festival premiere season and Romeo & Juliet in 1997. Joe's list of directing credits include Blithe Spirit, The Spitfire Grill, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Rent, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Mr. MarmaladeCyrano De Bergerac, A Streetcar Named Desire, Our TownIt's a Wonderful LifeThe TempestRock and Betty Dance, Angels in America: Part One, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Inherit the WindTartuffe At Holy Spirit BroadcastingBentMarisolNoises Off!, Steiglitz Loves O'KeeffeTobacco RoadTo Kill A MockingbirdKiss of the Spider WomanThe Colored MuseumSalonikaCurse of the Starving Class, and The Crucible. Joe has also taught at the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, Northern Arizona University and at his alma mater, Southern Methodist University, where he earned his MFA in Acting. Other plays written by Joe are Crown of Thunder (which received its world premiere at Ole Miss Theatre in 2004,) God Bless Elizabeth Taylor, Dante Under the River Palm, Lady Cosmo's LincolnBeing Sebastian, and Suite Dementia. Joe’s newest play, Eternity for the Time Being, received a staged reading in 2016 and is being developed.  He is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Inc. In 2006, Joe was the recipient of the Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen.  Joe’s actor training book, In the Moment: the process of training actors was published in 2015, Nautilus Publishing.

Areas of Specialization
Actor training, playwriting, directing and producing, acting Shakespeare