We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Campbell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Being an artist is always about taking risks. Art that plays it safe does not invoke the kind of emotion, or reaction I am after. I want to make things that inspire or agitate people to take the next step, so I want you to get angry, or sad, or anything that makes the audience want to learn more or do more about the subject of the art. That’s risky. I also invest in myself as an artist, and sometimes ventures don’t go the way you want because the execution was off or outside forces beyond your control, so that is extremely risky as well. There is however, a difference between throwing caution to the wind vs calculated risks. If I take a risk, it is measured and I have factored in what is at stake, and what I could possibly lose. I’ve lost money, battles, and I’ve even lost face. I try not to do anything that feels irredeemable, and that I couldn’t bounce back from.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Emancipation Theater Company is a cultural enterprise providing anti racist education and advocacy through the power of storytelling. We are less of a theatre “company” and more of a theatre “business” by utilizing the skills of theatre to approach business consultation. Performance art has a superpower, in that it gathers the community to share stories and inspire action. People come together to enjoy art, and its a way to engage folks in difficult subjects and conversations. Conversely, improvisational speaking is something we all do in everyday life, we can teach ordinary people how to do that with the proficiency of a seasoned veteran of the art, and how to leverage that in the workplace, relationships, and everyday life. The same goes for storytelling or writing. In addition to our consultation framework, we are also performers ourselves and that is the basis of why we exist. We believe in the power of storytelling.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The best thing about Denver is that it is so close to the Mountains, and the scenery is incredible. We could spend time looking at the view from Lookout Mountain in Golden, or we could spend a warm spring afternoon hike through Chautauqua Park above Boulder. One of my favorite places to dine is Domo, an incredible Japanese country food restaurant. The Dazzle brunch buffet is also a huge hit, and a perfect place to meet for drinks is the Viewhouse in Ballpark.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people, books and organizations that I revere and appreciate that have shaped who I am. I will only name a few for the sake of brevity. Brother Jeff Fard, the book by Stephen Covey “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and Hip Hop Culture as a whole.