Janis Astor del Valle (writer-performer-educator) uses her plays and films to foster discourse and understanding of LGBTQ issues and cultural diversity. She is a member of the Actors Studio’s Playwright/Director’s Workshop, and has served as an Assistant Professor in the Practice of Arts Management and Entrepreneurship at SUNY Purchase since 2013. As one of the initiating artists of the New Shokan Kitchen Island Project, which honors women deserving of a statue, Janis co-produced StatueFest On Stage at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (PRTT), and as part of Figment 2022.
Janis enjoys touring her solo plays, both directed by Carolyn Kirsch: Trans Plantations, which explores her identity crisis as a New York-born Puerto Rican lesbian uprooted from the Bronx and transplanted to Connecticut; and, Becoming Joaquin, about a Latinx transman and his family who are in therapy, struggling to accept his identity. Her solo play, Getting There, was named a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2018 National Playwrights Conference and the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work.
Janis holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University and a BA in Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College. She portrayed Tania in the independent film, Collision (dir. Jeff Frederick), and has performed at such venues as Hartford Stage, HERE, the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe, B.A.A.D., Yale, and the University of Miami. Her plays have been produced by Dixon Place, INTAR, Pregones, Cornell University, and University of Santa Cruz, and are published in six anthologies, including Puro Teatro and Action: The Nuyorican Poets Café Theater Festival. Her work is also published in Sinister Wisdom 97:Out Latina Lesbians. Her short film, A South Bronx Tale, has screened at the New York International Latino Film Festival, NewFest and the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, among others.
Janis was previously awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant in Playwriting from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. She is a past recipient of the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting, and an Aurand Harris Fellowship from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. Janis is a past member of the Joseph Papp Public Theater Latino Writers Lab, the Dorothy Strelsin (Primary Stages) New American Writers Group and the Latino Writers Lab at the New York International Latino Film Festival and National Association of Latino Independent Producers. She was a Van Lier Fellow at Mabou Mines.
Janis served as the Executive Director of Youth Rights Media. She taught theatre and creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and was Director of Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center. She was Youth Development Specialist at The Point, a community cultural center in the South Bronx, and a teaching artist for the Creative Arts Team, an educational theatre company in NYC.
Janis resides in New Haven, Connecticut with her wife, their cat and dog.