Kyle Rainey | Reporter
Nov. 21, 2016; 3:30 p.m.
Lindenwood graduate Phil Gill is back on campus as guest director for this year’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Gill graduated with a master’s degree in directing in Dec. 2013 and has since been working with theaters in the St. Louis area.
“It’s nice to have the opportunity to work with some people I know and get a chance to work with students I haven’t had the chance to meet yet,” Gill said.
Associate Professor Emily Jones taught him during his two years in Lindenwood’s master’s program. She said his directing is about the actors.
“He focuses first and foremost on the acting of the production and making sure the actors feel comfortable and safe in their environment and that they have the tools they need to communicate the story to their audience,” Jones said.
Since he graduated in 2014, Gill said he has been in the St. Louis area making a name for himself and creating professional relationships to further his directing.
Gill said most directors direct in one of three ways. Design directors focus on how the lights and set will work. Playwright directors stay as true as they can to the script, and actors directors, like Gill, use their connections with the actors to tell the story.
“[Lindenwood] definitely has had an influence on the way I approach having conversations with actors and the way I approach my directing,” Gill said.
He said he’s glad to have the opportunity to direct “A Christmas Carol” at Lindenwood this year.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=” Emily Jones” link=”” color=”#CBB57B” class=”” size=”32″]“He’s always been someone who’s pleasant to work with and will challenge the students,”[/perfectpullquote]
“I want to bring a little bit of a fresh perspective,” he said. “I also want to get the chance to work with these students and get them to create the characters as their own.”
Directing plays like “A Christmas Carol” are the most challenging because a lot of people are familiar with its plot, so it’s hard to make it original yet recognizable, Gill said.
“He’s always been someone who’s pleasant to work with and will challenge the students,” Jones said.
She said one of the reasons he was chosen to direct was not only his knowledge of the facilities, but his approach to directing is what she expects of faculty and staff at Lindenwood.
The manager of the costume shop at Lindenwood is Louise Herman, and she worked with Gill for a little under two years. She said he was her first student worker.
“I’m very happy that he’s back directing because I really enjoy working with him,” she said. “I liked having him as assistant; he has a wonderful personality, and we got along really well.”
She said he was always patient when explaining things to students who needed support from the little shop that is tucked away in the J. Scheidegger Center.
Gill said that students who want to be directors really need to ask themselves why they want to direct. Similarly, he said that actors who want to become professional need to avoid becoming complacent.
He said Lindenwood changed his approach to directing and that he wants to help student actors develop their skills.
“The more you work at your craft and the more you invest into it, the more you’ll get out of it,” Gill said.