About CHANTAL JEAN-PIERRE
I am an actor, professor, and above all an artist.
I love language. That simple statement is the most heartfelt declaration I can make about who I am as an artist. It has formed the basis of my methodology both as a performer and a teaching artist. My passion for language has formed my approach, my work, and my personhood since I was a teenager.
I feel that language can guide the artist to fully make a solid investment in the role. If an artist is willing to open themselves to the richness of sounds, there is potential to connect with the character’s soul and spirit.
"[Chantal] really helped me tap into fully experiencing and expressing my emotions, and letting it go. So, if you want to get in the practice of letting it go, letting it all hang out, but focused and intentional, Chantal's class - any of her classes - is for you." - Angela Birchett, Broadway Actress
My APPROACH TO TEACHING
When I work with actors, I implore them always to not only read what’s on the page, but also trust the words, and the sound of the language will resonate. Allow it to move you; allow the language to help you find the character and assist you in defining the role.
My love of language has helped me to define my world as an artist and a human being on a life journey of incredible adventure and blessing.
My family and I moved to Florida from our native Haiti when I was a child. I have been able to use that perspective, that viewpoint of coming from another culture, to shape my artistry and understanding of the world.
MY PROFESSIONAL Education
I obtained my BFA in Acting from Florida International University. It was a special time in my life when I had some very inspirational teachers. What engrossed my attention was language and I fell madly in love with Shakespeare’s text.
I began experimenting by presenting Shakespeare’s plays conveyed through one character. Eventually, I proceeded to help and tutor my classmates; the seeds of teaching were being sown in my path.
After completing my undergraduate studies, I relocated to New Jersey to pursue my MFA in Acting at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. My time at Rutgers allowed me to fine tune my skills and craftsmanship as an actor before embarking upon my professional career.
The most challenging days of my life to that point was working steadily in the theatre and maintaining a teaching schedule as a college professor, split between two universities. It was during this sleepless period that spawned my greatest creativity.
"After taking four extensive classes with her, I not only knew more about the craft of acting but also came away knowing so much more about myself as an artist. She really knows how to pinpoint one's strengths and weaknesses and then communicate effectively how to exercise them, from monologues to scene study technique. Chantal works in a professional manner and shows respect for all of her students. She teaches within a comfortable work environment, which allows us to be open with one another as well as within our work - which is the best way to grow! It was a pleasure working with Ms. Jean-Pierre." -Olivia Kinter
"Chantal Jean-Pierre's Goneril conveys the calloused sense of lifelong entitlement..."
– Peter Marks, Washington Post
"Chantal Jean-Pierre brings type and charm to the title role." – Toby Zinman, The Inquirer
MY ACTING CAREER
Two roles stand out in my mind when I think about the pivotal moments of growth in my artistic career.
First, the title role in Antony and Cleopatra at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. I had to find this balance of this fiery queen who needs to be in control and this girl in need of love. It was daunting, but fun. It was a particularly demanding role that I am still proud of today. I learned in working with Shakespeare how to truly utilize language, and it has carried over into my approach to contemporary work.
Most people don’t realize that there is a lot of nuance in contemporary dialogue. Which is why playing Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun at Crossroads Theatre Company was so important. That family is poor, but she definitely has dignity and range similar to that of Shakespearean characters.
Those roles were among a few that compelled me to find the joy inside troubled and troubling characters. I love acting because of this gift: you can show the many colors of the human experience. That is an incomparable feeling.
I strive to be a generous artist in my work on stage, and I credit the inherent generosity that comes from teaching wonderful students and colleagues with giving me the freedom to work with integrity, spirit, truth, and grace. My adventure starts at the rehearsal to page one of the script, and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t really ever end.
"Chantal Jean-Pierre as Cleopatra, is mesmerizing, as she creates a beautiful alpha woman who rules an Empire and lives fully." – Liz Eichler, League of Cincinnati Theatres