Last updated: 15 Jan, 2022

Jill Navarre

Playwright, Screenwriter, Director

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. (The story of that unlikely journey is told in 'Portrait of Anna', a screenplay which I am now writing.) I started writing when I was 9 years old, and won a New York City-wide competition for best essay on the theme, 'Why I Like to Read'. Graduating from essays, I wrote poetry (10 years' worth) and have had numerous poems published in the U.S. and Canada. While living in Toronto, a group of us started a coffee house called The Soft Cell, which presented some of Canada's greatest poets for a solid evening of poetry and all the chocolate chip cookies you could eat.

Back in the U.S., while working on my Master's degree in English, I took a playwriting class – for a lark – and got hooked on theatre. Well, I was always involved somehow. As a kid I loved to sing and in summer camp got a chance to do some great roles, like Ado Annie in 'Oklahoma'! Goodbye Master's degree, hello Broadway!

My first job in theatre was selling tickets for "Ain't Misbehavin' " at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida. 

Since then, some of the highlights of my career have been winning awards for directing - 'Rivers of Blood' (First Prize, Source Theatre Festival, Washington, D.C.) and playwriting - 'The Cradle Will Fall' (First Prize, Washington, D.C. Arts Council Larry Neal Award).

I worked as Asst. Box Office Manager at the FOLGER THEATRE in D.C. for 3 years, and every night (well, almost every night) I would watch great actors performing Shakespeare. While working on a production of 'Under Milkwood', I met two other theatre artists who became my best friends and colleagues. We were crazy enough to think we could start a new theatre company in Washington which would present cross cultural, inter-racial, avant-garde theatre. And we did. So I became one of the founding members of the Sanctuary Theatre, managing the New Play series, and helping many young playwrights to present their work for the first time. I fell in love with directing, and have directed 22 plays in the U.S. and India.

The India connection started way back in 1987 when I made my first backpacking trip to “the East” and stumbled on a place called Auroville, an international community of people in Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to human unity and peace. Sort of like a kibbutz, but with an Indian atmosphere. I knew something interesting and important was going on here, and although I returned to the U.S., the place stayed with me, until I decided I had to check it out. Staying for one year in 1991 was enough to convince me that this was where I belonged, and I've lived here ever since. I've been Artistic Director of the Auroville Theatre Group since 1992. In 2003, I was awarded a Government of India Development Scheme grant for directing 'Milarepa'.

In 2002, I returned with my partner, Edgar Weinberger, to the States to hunker down and write our screenplay, Sannyasi, adapted from Satprem's novel, 'Sannyasin: or By the Body of the Earth' The time was well spent. I even got a chance to work as acting coach on a short film in Portland, Oregon, called 'Exile from the Sun', written and directed by Michael Poitevin.

Now I do translations (French/English). Edgar and I have translated the play 'Milarepa', by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, which the  Auroville Theatre Group performed here in January, 2004, under my direction. Our most recent production was 'The Rainmaker' by N. Richard Nash (2006). I am currently writing a play, 'Ananda', and a screenplay, 'Portrait of Anna'. Meanwhile, 'Sannyasi' is ready to go.



'Ananda' - script in progress

'The Cradle Will Fall' - 1989, first prize, Washington, D.C. Arts Council Larry Neal Award

'Mommy, I'm Home' - produced 1986, Washington, D.C. Open Theatre Women's Festival

'Women in Hell' - a collection of short plays



'Portrait of Anna' - script in progress.

'The Door' - short film in post-production.

'Sannyasi' - Co-author with Edgar Weinberger (adapted from the novel 'By the Body of the Earth or The Sannyasin' by Satprem).


Director, the Auroville Theatre Group (Auroville, India):

For more information, please visit the Auroville Theatre Group page. 

2006 - 'The Rainmaker' by N. Richard Nash

2005 - 'The Tempest' by Wm. Shakespeare

2004 - 'The Woolgatherer' by Wm. Mastrosimone

2004 - 'Milarepa' by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

2003 - 'Sacrifice' by Rabindranath Tagore

2001 - 'Nishtha: Or the Strange Disappearnace of Margaret Woodrow Wilson' by Seyril Schochen

1999 - 'Bay at Nice' by David Hare

1998 - 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' by Tom Stoppard

1996 - 'Legend of the Kalivelli Siddha' by Bhavana Dee

1995 - 'The Greedy Man' by Parthasarathy

1994 - 'Black Comedy' by Peter Shaffer

1993 - 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett

1990 - 'Mommy, I'm Home' author


Plays Directed in the U.S.:

1990 - 'Resident Alien' by Claire A. Nelson for the Montgomery County Council, Maryland, USA

1989 - 'The Greasy Envelope' by Henry Hubben for the Source Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1989 - 'The Cradle Will Fall' by author (staged reading) for the Source Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1988 - 'Deceit (Or Crime with Class)' by Joe Martin for the Source Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1988 - 'Psychotic Busboy Blues' by Stephen Belber for DC/AC, Washington, D.C. USA

1987 - 'Rivers of Blood' by Claire A. Nelson for the Source Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1986 - 'Eany-Meany' by Mark Pizzato for the Source Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1986 - 'Mommy, I'm Home' by the author for the Open Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA

1985 - 'Behind the Curtains' by Margaret Nash for the Sanctuary Theatre, Washington, D.C. USA



Director, New Play Series Sanctuary Theatre, DC

Box Office Manager, Sanctuary Theatre, DC

Publicity Director, Sanctuary Theatre , DC

Publicity Director, Open Studio, DC

Subscription/Group Sales, The Folger Theatre, DC

Admin. Asst., Playwrights Horizon, NY

House Manager, Light Opera of Manhattan NY

Ticket Sales, Players State Theatre, FL


Production/ Technical:

Asst. to the Costumier, American Folk Theatre, NY

Asst. Stage Manager, Soho Rep Theatre, NY

Rehearsal Asst., Players State Theatre, FL

Tech Crew, Players State Theatre, FL

Stage Manager, The Little Prince Co., FL



Acting Studio Theatre, Washington, DC

Herbert Berghof Studio, New York

Playwriting, New Playwright's Theatre, DC - with Terry Twyman, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Writers/Directors Workshop with Gene Frankel, Gene Frankel Theatre , NY

 B.A., English/Education, Queens College of C.U.N.Y.