Pushing the boundaries of performance
“Phase Eight aspires to be Florida’s next great regional theater. We are an ensemble of actors, writers, designers, poets, and dancers that develop new works speaking to the lives of people residing in Northeast Florida.”
JaMario Stills, founder of Phase Eight Theater Company, is determined to fulfill the promise of his mission statement. The name of the company plays on the Seven Elements of Drama, leaving potential for another evolution of theater –Phase Eight. Already his audience can feel the impact of this edgy actor’s company. Great theater can push the boundaries of what we thought we knew, while creating bridges to what we can now understand. Stills has recruited a crew of professional actors who will be treated as professionals and inspired to perform at a professional level.
JaMario Stills knows what it takes to act and direct on a truly professional level. After graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (class of 2000) here in Jacksonville, Stills went on to Juilliard, where he earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drama.
His professional experience includes performances at the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The McCarter Theatre, and other venues. He has directed A Soldier’s Tale (Libretto) at Lincoln Center. He is currently drama instructor for Jacksonville University’s Theater Department, and serves on the boards of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Art in Public Places.
Drawing on this broad range of education and experience, Stills plans to create for Jacksonville the type of theater experience available in great cities around the world, while keeping the work relevant to our region and promoting our own regional actors, playwrights, and directors. JaMario Stills, his team, and many of their supporters feel that Jacksonville is ready for high-quality, challenging performances.
At the 2016 Arts Awards, Heather Moore met Stills and was fascinated to hear about his plans for this new theater company. Already heavily involved in Jacksonville’s arts and nonprofit community, Moore recognized Phase Eight as another way to promote local talent and story-telling, bringing a deep emotional connection for people from all parts of the city. ”Theater is an opportunity for people to engage in others’ lives, get inside someone’s mind and understand their heart … people who would never otherwise meet or share experiences,” says Moore. “Drama allows the audience to connect and see the humanity of what that person faces, to share their life challenges.” Moore agreed to serve as board president for the organization, working on expanding the board (now at eight members), and promoting and supporting the growth of Phase Eight. “I love being a connector, facilitating growth, presenting issues, helping people come together to see a play and then talk about it. It becomes a collective experience that strengthens the community as a whole.”