Paige Kiliany was just 13 when she realized she wanted to be a theater director. As a child, Kiliany performed in summer stock musicals with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. "That gave me a window into the backstage world," she tells us. "I saw all that the directors got to do ... and knew that's what I should do. So I gradually started [directing]." She was an assistant directer/apprentice for several shows at Pittsburgh CLO, including a production of Jekyll & Hyde. She also worked with Signature Theatre Company on productions of The Three Penny Opera and The Lady of Dubuque.
After earning a BFA in Directing at Carnegie Mellon University, Kiliany came to Houston where she most recently directed All in the Timing for The Landing Theatre Company, where she's currently the Literary Associate for New American Voices.
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What She Does: "I'm a theater director. I also work as an assistant director as well to continue learning and making professional connections.
"My job as a director is to bring an idea or text to the stage. That means having a solid handle on the story, concept, look and feel of the show and communicating and collaborating with all the involved artists.
"I start by working with designers on concepts and the technical aspects of the show and work with the actors on developing characters, blocking, pacing and all the little discussions and details that go into a performance."
"I'm also sometimes a choreographer, if the project calls for it. My roots are in musical theater and I grew up in dance classes. Movement and visual storytelling is a fundamental part of the way I approach every project even if it doesn't call for dance."
Why She Likes It: "I love directing because I get to work closely with designers, actors and writers all at once. Directing allows me to be creative, intellectual, collaborative, a leader and a storyteller. It also allows me to work on a wide variety of theater. My favorite part of the process is being in rehearsal. When I'm in the zone and with actors I love and we're working together to create some really awesome moments, I know I could never do anything else."
What Inspires Her: "I've worked with so many different actors, designers and directors who I am really inspired by and who have pushed me to become better; you keep those lessons with you even after a show is over. I also keep up on current events, listen to podcasts on different subjects, read good books when I can, watch different kinds of entertainment.
"I get my enthusiasm from the fact that I'm completely passionate about storytelling. I think we should put stories on stage that really need to be seen, stories that expose audiences to different ideas and people and make them think and question the world around them."
If Not This, Then What: "Directing really is my dream gig! I don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't doing this."
If Not Here, Then Where: "I'd definitely live in New York, which I did for a bit while in college, it was great, Chicago and San Francisco. All three are big cities with really vibrant theater scenes and unique cultures."
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What's Next: "I'll continue working as a Literary Associate for The Landing Theatre and growing the company, and hopefully directing and assistant directing some more! After a few good nights of sleep [after All in the Timing], I'll be ready to dive into another completely different show."
For information about Paige Kiliany, visit paigekiliany.com.
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