Union graduate begins directing plays with theater guild

By Alexandra Richardson
Staff Writer

Keaghlan Sheridan, a recent theater graduate of Union University, will direct her first play outside of Union University this winter with the Jackson Theatre Guild.

The play, “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge,” will be performed in December at The Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center in downtown Jackson.

Since graduation last spring, Sheridan has been heavily involved with the Jackson Theatre Guild.

Sheridan said she played the lead role in “Anything Goes” soon after graduation.

“I had never been the lead in a musical before, and I got to sing, tap dance and act,” Sheridan said. “After that was over, I interned with the Jackson Theatre Guild whenever they needed me.”

This month, Sheridan will act in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

This is Sheridan’s first attempt at directing.

“For directing class at Union, I directed a one act,” she said. “Looking back now, I would have completely rewritten it. The actors were great, but I could have done better. Digging into the psychology of a character requires a lot of patience and time, which I did not have. I would do it over now because I am a different actor now than I was then. As I change as an actor, I also change as a director.”

Sheridan said she believes she can bring a new voice to “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge.”

“I think what is really different in coming straight from college and going into directing is that there is a bigger importance in really digging into character development, vocal exercises and warm-up games,” Sheridan said. “Many directors have less focus on that, but I think it’s fun and it helps to really see that it is good for you as an actor. I want to find a way to take what I’ve learned from Union and apply that to the Jackson Theatre Guild.”

“Keaghlan will be exquisite,” said Emily Anderson, theater graduate of Union University. “She has a meticulous eye for details and a clear mindset of how to execute them. She will step into rehearsal with ambition and use her acting experience to thrust the play forward.”

Sheridan chose an assistant director and stage manager and will help to decide which actors will read together. She also will be at every rehearsal after the cast is set, she said.

“At the same time, I’m also over costumes and set design. Once we move into the theater, then you have to become a master of all trades,” she said. “You have to make sure the actors are satisfied.”
Sheridan said she is looking forward to doing something new.

“I’ve always loved acting, but I said yes to directing this play because it is such a big opportunity,” she said. “It is a big undertaking, but it is really exciting at the same time because at the end of the day you can say the play is yours.

“I think as an actor, having the chance to be a director can help you learn how to communicate better having been on both sides.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.