In Memoriam: Alum and Lecturer Joan Mankin, Beloved Bay Area Actor and Clown

Monday, September 28, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Born May 16, 1948, in Minneapolis, Ms. Mankin graduated from the University of Chicago and received her Master’s in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State. She burst upon local audiences in 1970 in the Mime Troupe’s “An Independent Female.” As the ingenue, torn between marriage and pursuing a career, she was an eye-fluttering innocent bride subject to uncontrollable eruptions of martial arts moves and feminist aspirations. The tacit promise of the unpredictable was a feature of her work throughout a distinguished career, in roles ranging from Chekhov and Shakespeare to Tom Stoppard and original new works. “On stage she was electric,” Jon Carroll wrote in The Chronicle. “She was like some sort of jinni, a supernatural force of some sort. She was dangerous, a bottle of chaos liable to break at any moment.” Also a director with the Magic and other companies, Ms. Mankin was a tireless advocate for arts education, women’s rights and representation in the theatre.