woman's portrait

Taylor McPhail, 2020

Name: Taylor McPhail

Major: Theater (BA)

Minors: Musical Theater, Arts & Cultural Management

Hometown: Grand Ledge, MI

Taylor McPhail is a new alumnus of Michigan State University. She majored in Theater and minored in Musical Theater, Arts & Cultural Management. Let’s hear what she has to say about her journey!

What brought you on your college journey? Was it a person, a dream, a goal, an expectation?

I guess I would say all of the above. I started majoring in theatre because it’s what I’ve always loved most, and I knew that I wanted to pursue it in some capacity. So I had a dream of being an actor/writer/director/etc and went to MSU to figure out which path I actually wanted to pursue. I think I came in with the expectation that I would discover one singular goal, but I think what I learned is that I don’t have to choose just one, and am able to be a theatre person in many different capacities.

What was the most important thing you learned over your college journey?

Other than the work in the classroom, I would say the most important thing I learned in college had to do with my values. I learned a lot about myself and not just the future career I want to have, but more importantly the kind of person I want to be.

You made a play production company, By/For Publishing. Tell me about how that came into being, who supported you, what you're doing with it next. 

I really value representation in theatre, both on stage and behind the scenes. I think that all starts with the writer. While it’s become more common in recent years to see plays written by women on Broadway/in New York, we rarely see anything that was written by someone who is not cisgender; on an educational and community theatre level, we still mostly see plays written by cisgender men. I wanted to change this, so I started a company that publishes plays digitally. My focus is material written by people of marginalized genders, licensing them to community and educational theaters to bring those underrepresented voices to a wider and more accessible audience. I got a lot of support from my professors, specifically Kate Birdsall in the Department of English, who helped me a lot along the way in navigating the publishing world, which I wasn’t too familiar with before. Since I launched just before COVID, it’s been a slow start, but I’m hoping to get the shows I’ve published into schools next year, and maybe over Zoom in the meantime.

Now that you've graduated, where are you headed in life?

I am continuing to write, and hopefully soon will get the opportunity to act and direct again. My ultimate goal is to start a theatre company that specifically focuses on producing new works by underrepresented voices.

Any words of inspiration for future artists?

All I really have to say is if you feel inspired to create something, give it a try or you’ll never know how it could’ve turned out!

Taylor McPhail is the owner of By/For Publishing out of Grand Ledge, MI. Learn More