Justine Wolf Williams(she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist working across performance, film and social practice.
Upon facing rejection from every acting grad school she applied to in her tender 20’s, the head of an acting studio suggested Justine take a clown class, instead, and delivered what Oprah might call, her Aha! moment -- which was more like a prolonged, Holy f*#k! Waahhhh!!! (free fall) Wheee!! I’m alive! Look how beautiful! (soft landing) Whoa. Wow. Again, please?!.
Through clown, Justine harnessed her performance anxieties as a generator on stage – gaining access to vulnerable power and presence, and unleashing her capacity to play with risk and abandon. She’s been perfecting the art of spectacular failure ever since – evoking (and invoking) a sense of playfulness, pathos and poetic possibility in her work and using her skills as a storyteller to unsettle established narratives and forms as she imagines new ones forward.
"Who played the babysitter?" Amazing. Huge fan of her work”. - Ryan Gosling
Justine's work has taken the form of films, video installations, performances, live cinema, augmented reality tours, cabarets and varieties, social practice performances, meetings, workshops, collectives, zines, screenplays, episodics, song cycles, and other surprising forms (even to her). She created a surrealist cinema house in the back of a box truck (Night Market), sang original music atop a boomlift for a mechanical ballet (Empire Drive-In, Queens Museum), performed contemporary revivals of Moliere farces (Yale Repertory Theater/Berkeley Rep), and presented clown and commedia shows (in the backrooms of Mexican restaurants to NYC's most respected stages).
Her cinematic work as a performer and/or director has screened at Maryland Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival, New Directors|New Films, Rotterdam Film Festival, and more. She collaborates with female “folk comedy” directors -- Shaina Feinberg (Blunderpuss) and Shannon Plumb (Towheads) -- and, has received support to develop work through The Public Theater, Ars Nova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYWIFT, Queer|Art, Orchard Project, Lighthouse Film Festival and New Georges, among others. Her collaborations include 8 years of creative partnership with artist, Eva Peskin, on queer friendship and collaborative world-making, and an ongoing project with artist/death doula, Kate Muehlmann, that invites the public to engage creatively with questions around death and dying.
In an ironic twist, Justine has been on faculty at the Yale School of Drama since 2013, where she teaches Play and Story. She moonlights as a rom-com ghostwriter, and is currently writing a book on play.
She lives between Brooklyn, NY and Paris, France with her toddler and partner.