A native of Chicago and a graduate of Wheaton College, Jim kicked it around in the city with a number of theatrical, improvisational and sketch comedy groups, even taking on a longish stint directing the performing arts program at a modest institution. But the unique challenges and rewards of storefront theater attracted him, and he welcomed the opportunity to throw his hat in Steep's black box arena. It proved to be a fortuitous toss.
The appeal of the ensemble and its work are captured well by critic Jack Helbig in his review of Pinter's The Hothouse: "The folks at Steep squeeze all the drama they can out of the script. Even more impressive, they capture the rhythms of the dialogue without over- or underplaying their parts." This is spot on and characteristic of Steep, as is his very next sentence: "Jim Poole is nearly perfect as Roote, the morally bankrupt stuffed shirt who runs the asylum, ...as is Alex Gillmor as Roote's resentful rodentlike assistant." (To be fair I quote the original sentence in its entirety, though I think that last phrase was tacked on for the sole purpose of employing the very apt word "rodentlike")
For Jim, the experience of Hothouse has been repeated and repeated... and repeated in nearly every other production at Steep.
Earthquakes in London
Under the Blue Sky
Kill The Old Torture Their Young
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Bang The Drum Slowly
The Night Heron
These Flowers are for My Mother