Jessica Austgen is a Denver-based theater artist with deep roots in both the improv and legit theater scene.
After earning her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University Colorado at Boulder, Jessica spent three seasons acting with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, appearing in As You Like It, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing on the historic Mary Rippon stage, as well as teaching and touring with their educational programs. She has appeared on stages across the state, including the Arvada Center, the Catamounts, the Aurora Fox Arts Center, Theaterworks Colorado Springs and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Favorite roles include Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest, Julie in Miss Julie, and Jaycee Triplethree in Comic Potential, Dorine in Tartuffe Frank Goodman/Mr. Asa in Men On Boats and Fanny Dashwood/Lucy Steele in Kate Hamill's adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.
Jessica is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and has received multiple awards for her theatre work, including "Best Actress in a Comedy" from the Denver Westword in 2003 and 2012. Her work in the Arvada Center Black Box's production of Sense and Sensibility earned her a 2018 Henry Award Nomination for "Best Supporting Actress in a Play," and she was proud to be part of the acting company that won the 2018 Henry Award for "Best Ensemble." In December 2018, Jessica was named "Colorado Theater Person of the Year" by John Moore and the True West Awards.
Her first commissioned script, DragON—a Comic Con-themed drag adventure!—was commissioned by Off-Center, the experimental test kitchen for the Tony Award-winning Denver Center for the Performing Arts and had its world premiere in June 2017 at the Garner Galleria Theater directed by Joel Ferrell. Jessica's second play, Sin Street Social Club, was another commission—this time by the Arvada Center's Black Box Repertory—and will premiere in March 15th, 2019, directed by Lynne Collins.
Her short work has been featured at play festivals across the US and Canada.
Jessica is a teaching artist and Shakespeare Coordinator for the Education Department at the DCPA and is one of the touring cast members with Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, a High School education program. Jessica directs the Teen Company performance program at the DCPA and teaches a variety of classes in the Education department.
She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver's Theatre Department, resident improv instructor at the Turing School of Software and Design, and a frequent guest artist at the prestigious Denver School of the Arts.
Jessica spent three years as a cast member with Impulse Theater (Denver's longest running show) and currently performs long form improvisation with BAUS, t.b.d. improv, and Cult Following (Off-Center @ the Jones). She coaches Step Uncle at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, teaches drop-in classes around Denver and her advanced improv workshop, Playing with Style, is designed to help experienced improvisers begin to incorporate style and genre into their play.
She served five years on the board (including one year as President) of the Group Mind Foundation, the producing entity behind the Denver Improv Festival.
In 2012, Jessica received her Master of Liberal Studies and Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.