Junauda Petrus

Petrus is a multi-talented performer who has made an indelible mark on the creative world.

Among her many accomplishments, she wrote and directed There Are Other Worlds, an ancestral-circus-poem-play with a cast of Black women to tell the story of an activist who has spent the majority of her two teenage daughter’s lives incarcerated, and wrote, directed, and produced Sweetness of Wild, an episodic-poetic-film-series about  life after Prince, first queer love, police violence, and bike culture against the backdrop of Minneapolis.

She also performed in and co-wrote (with Erik Ehn) the puppet-gospel-musical Queen starring Laurie Carlos, served as the lead artist with the Heart of the Beast Theatre’s May Day Parade, and created and performed in her own experimental short film work, including Love Tones, Out My Mind, and Erotics of Abolition.

As an aerial acrobat of the corde lisse (a hanging smooth rope), Petrus intertwined her background in West African and Afro-Caribbean dance and explored themes of Blackness, queerness, and wildness reclaimed and re-imagined in the vertical space.

Among her many honors, she received a Jerome Grant in literature to research queerness and African-inspired spiritualities in Trinidad and Tobago for her fiction and was named a 2016 City Pages Twin Cities artist of the year. Her stories and essays have been featured in anthologies including Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Body Talk, How I Resist, and the speculative fiction collection Tasting Light.

Her forthcoming children’s book, Could We Please Give The Police Department to the Grandmothers?, is based on her viral poem that imagines a radically positive future where love and healing are at the center of public safety and community well-being.

In addition, Petrus is the co-founder (with Erin Sharkey) of Free Black Dirt, an experimental artist collective based in Minneapolis that creates original performances and supports the emerging literary artists’ community.

Playhouse Engagements

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