Humans of UP

Humans of UP: Josh Rippy

josh headshotMFA Directing graduate student Josh Rippy has ventured all across the US to work in theatres. This is his story.

Josh auditioned for his first role onstage when he was only five years old in Nampa, Idaho. He did not get the part, and he became so upset that his mother did not want him to try theatre again. Josh had other plans, however. All throughout elementary school, Josh would write plays, and his teachers would always let him direct one each year. Josh recalls his mother typing on a typewriter as he told her the stories out loud, and then he would gather a group from his class and create the shows.

Josh had no opportunities to do theatre in Jr. High; however, his high school in Kuna, ID allowed him many opportunities to do theatre.   Josh also played football and baseball, and he wanted to be a sports broadcaster, so he landed a job at KBOI Channel 2 in Boise his freshman year. By senior year, Josh was a producer for the weekend evening news; however, he realized this was not his dream job after all.

Josh playing Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing at ISF

Josh playing Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing at Wane State **

Josh in Othello at ISF

Josh in Othello at ISF

While attending Boise State University, Josh worked at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival (ISF) and Boise Contemporary Theatre. At ISF, Josh started as a member of the set changeover crew and moved up to box office the next summer. Josh continued to climb up from being an assistant electrician, to a production assistant, an actor with a few small roles, to an equity assistant stage manager, followed by an assistant director for the main stage shows, and finally an administrative assistant by the summer of 2011. In total, Josh worked at ISF for seven seasons, which spanned across five years.

Homegrown Theatre, Boise, Idaho

Homegrown Theatre, Boise, Idaho

"Closer"- directed by Josh at HomeGrown Theatre

“Closer”- directed by Josh at HomeGrown Theatre

One of Josh’s large accomplishments while at Boise State was that he started his own theatre company: HomeGrown Theatre, which is still up and running today! Josh says once he got beyond the point of managing the theatre and it could run itself smoothly, that was his favorite place to work (so far).

In 2010, Josh worked as an assistant director for the New Play Network MFA Playwright Conference at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Later that year, Josh spent a month in the winter working on various productions in New York.

Detroit, MI

Detroit, Michigan

Josh then moved from Idaho to Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan to get his MFA in acting. While attending Wayne State, Josh would work, as he said, “under the radar” in Chicago on a few different productions—something he was not supposed to do because of his grad program’s restrictions. While at Wayne State, Josh eventually decided against his potential acting career. He decided overall that he wanted to be a director. Josh left Wayne State and spent time away from school for a period, working as an actor in pilots for two different shows in Los Angeles and Seattle, neither of which were picked up by networks.

This was not a dead end for Josh though, because only five days after leaving Wayne State, Josh contacted Andrew Golla, a director here at UP about applying for the directing grad program. At the time, while Josh lived in Idaho, he also met Heather Elmquist, who is now his fiancée. Shortly after proposing to Heather in May of 2014, Josh received his offer from University of Portland, and Josh moved to UP where he is debuting his first production: a show he co-wrote with his friend Edmund Jones entitled Oracle? The show opens this Wednesday in the Blair Black Box Theatre in Mehling Hall.

As for Josh’s future in theatre, it is far from over, but for the first time in a long while, he will not be doing theatre this summer. Instead, he’s getting married!

*All photos courtesy of Josh Rippy

** Edit: Much Ado About Nothing was performed at Wane State, not ISF.

Follow Josh’s life in theatre with this map!


Categories: Humans of UP

1 reply »

  1. Cool piece on a well traveled, eccentric personality of our campus! The pictures might need some rearranging… maybe even embedded into the map!


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