Joan is the Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company in St. Louis, Missouri where she founded the nationally acclaimed Alternate Currents/Direct Currents Series, The DisAbility Project, the Louies and Apple Pie. A strong proponent of collaboration, she also co-founded Women CenterStage! with the Center of Creative Arts, the Nadadada Festival at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Democracy on Stage with the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Mid-Sized Arts Cooperative.
A playwright, director, activist, educator, and social critic, her award-winning work has been featured on network television, National Public Radio, the BBC and the Associated Press. Her work has been published and presented throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, Australia and Asia. She was an Artist-in-Residence at Washington University for five years and served on the faculty of the Community Arts Training Institute for three years.
Joan specializes in creating original work with underrepresented populations including people with disabilities, women with cancer, LGBT youth and adults, seniors, adolescent girls, college students and youth at risk.
She has received commissions from numerous organizations including Yale University ("Kaleidoscope"), Curve, the Foster Care Coalition of St. Louis (“Will the Real Foster Parent Please Stand Up?”) the Susan G. Komen Foundation (“The Real Deal”), SSM Healthcare (“Diverse Works”), Provident Counseling (“Hello, Is Anybody There?”), the ACLU-Eastern Missouri (“Democracy on Stage”), the Federal Reserve Board of Greater St. Louis (“Ten Percent: Sexual Orientation and Homophobia in the Workplace”), Pfizer Corporation (“The Big Fat LGBT Show of Shows”), the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (“The Sage Cycle”) and One Mississippi (“H20”).
Joan's work has been widely presented. Selected theatres include the Old Vic, the Gate, Slack Dynamics and Jacksons Lane (London), Bailiwick Repertory and Circle Theatre (Chicago), Sprague Hall (Yale University), Lincoln Center, Buffalo United Artists, Nuyorican Cafe and Hallwalls (New York), Place des Arts (Montreal), Theatre Out and the Globe (Los Angeles), Provincetown Playhouse (Provincetown), Phoenix Rising (Washington DC), the Women’s Theatre Project (Ft. Lauderdale), Red Hen (Cleveland), Six Women Playwrights Festival (Colorado) and the Gaslight and St Marcus Theatres (St. Louis).
She has served on advisory committees for the International Women Playwrights Festival, Theatre Nausicaa (Paris), and Fragments and Monuments Theatre Company (London). In St. Louis, Lipkin has served on committees for the Susan G. Komen Foundation-St. Louis, VSA arts, PROMO, Center for Creative Arts, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Edison Theatre, Gateway Men’s Chorus, Missouri Arts Council and Pride Partnership. Currently, she is on the executive board of the national Women and Theatre Program.
She has adjudicated or been the respondent for several competitions including the Kevin Kline Awards, National Women Playwrights’ Competition, North American Junior Colleges Playwrights’ Competition, Society of Arts and Letters Comedic Acting Award, Jane Chambers Award and the Visionary Awards.
She has lectured and presented widely including at Yale University, Princeton University, Trinity College/LaMama, Oklahoma State University, Auburn University, Davidson College, New York University, the University of London, Georgetown University, Southwestern University, University of Texas – Austin, Washington and Lee, Missouri School for the Blind, Women in Theatre, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, International Playback Symposium, International Society for Disability Studies, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, and Creating Change.
Some of her honors include the Award for Disability Activism (Sisters of Loretto), the 2012 Arts Innovator of the Year (Arts & Education Council), Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award (National Conference for Community & Justice), Lisa Wagaman Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service (Pride St. Louis), Outstanding Alumna Award from Webster University, a Woman of Worth Award from the Gateway Older Women's League, a Visionary Award from Grand Center, the Special Recognition Award from the Recreational Council of Greater St. Louis, Special Recognition from Arts for Life, Frederick A. Laas Award from the Missouri Citizens for the Arts, the Woman Justice Award from Missouri Lawyers, the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year, a Healthcare Hero Finalist, and the Missouri Arts Award, the state’s highest honor to individuals and institutions that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic landscape of Missouri.
Her company has also received numerous honors including the John Van Voris Award for Community Service, What’s Right with the Region Award for Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice from Focus St. Louis, the Community Enhancement Award from the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and the Midwest Gala Human Rights Campaign Organization Equality Award.
Her work is published in Here Come the Brides!: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage (Seal Press), Studying Disability Arts and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan); Women's Comedic Art as Social Revolution, Upstaging Big Daddy: Directing Theater as if Race and Gender Matter (University of Michigan), Contemporary Feminist Theatres: To Each Her Own (Routledge), Amazon All Stars (Applause), Monologues By Women, For Women (Heinemann), More Monologues By Women, For Women (Heinemann), Sexuality in Performance (Faber & Faber), Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America (Plume/Penguin), Mythic Women/Real Women: New Plays and Performance Pieces(Faber & Faber) Women’s Comedy: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Gender and Humor (Polity), Outstanding Monologues and Scenes from the 90’s (Meriwether Publishing), 60 Seconds to Shine: 221 One-Minute Monologues for Men (Smith & Kraus), 60 Seconds to Shine: 221 One-Minute Monologues for Women (Smith & Kraus), One on One: The Best Women’s Monologues for the 21st Century (Applause), One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century(Applause), Radical Acts (Aunt Lute), Body In Performance(Routledge), 2005-2006 Best American Short Plays (Applause), 2010-2011 Best American Short Plays (Applause), Feminist Disability Studies (Indiana University Press), Out and Allied (Add Verb Publications), Mother/Daughter Monologues, Vol 2: Thirtysomethings(International Centre for Women Playwrights), Scenes from a Diverse World (International Center for Women Playwrights)
Her work and the work of her company have been featured in New Theatre Quarterly (Great Britain), Contemporary Theatre Review (Great Britain), American Theatre, The Drama Review, National Women Studies Journal, Australian Feminist Studies, The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Southern Poverty Law Center Journal, Curtain Call, In Theater, Playbill, Theatre and Social Change, Theatre.com, Intermission, The Purple Circuit, The Beacon, and St. Louis Magazine, among other publications.
She is a member of the Missouri Citizens for the Arts, Arts Round Table, Dramatists Guild, Women and Theatre Program, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Theatre and Social Change Forum, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, American Association of People with Disabilities, Association for Theatre and Accessibility, Society for Disability Studies and PEN.