Johanna Phillips

Name: Johanna Philips

Major: English

Year: Junior

Hometown: Baden, Pennsylvania

Birthday: May 26th


1. You changed your major between your sophomore and junior year. Why did you decide to change? How was that transition? Do you have any advice for someone who is in the process now or may want to change in the future?

I decided to switch to English from Environmental Science for a lot of reasons. The biggest motivator for switching was how much I really missed writing. There were a lot of amazing things about the science program here, but I felt like I could be making better use of my talents elsewhere. Writing has always been my strong point, and the writing that went with being a science major didn’t fulfill my desire to write creatively. Fortunately, I had known for a while that I wanted to minor in Creative Writing, so I had some of the classes I needed under my belt by the time I decided to change. Because I did that, I now have extra time to go back and finish my minor in Environmental Science. If anyone is thinking about changing their major, I recommend you do your research first. Look into what the program requires and plan for how you are going to meet the requirements. And if you want to change, do it and don’t be afraid!

2. I know you love to write, especially since you have written a couple books. What is your favorite part about writing and why?

It all comes down to the storytelling. For me, the opportunity to create something out of nothing is so special. What makes writing so great for me is how I can use it to tell my own story. All my characters are me, to varying degrees. Some characters are the good parts of me, manifesting as heroes, while others show the uglier parts, becoming the villains. Writing is a self-examination and therapeutic relief, where I can live out another life free of consequences and leave my problems on the page.


3. What other extracurricular activities are you involved with on campus?

I am a member of SGA, serving as a Gerard Hall representative. I am also an active member in the Saint Vincent College Players and the student-run theater group The Company, where I serve as the Vice President.

4. You directed the previous two shows for The Company. What is your favorite memory from that experience?

My favorite memory came during the first show I directed, called Crossroads. The entire show process had been incredible stressful for me. I had written the show myself, pulling songs from popular musicals to create a story about life. The kind of show I wrote had never been done by The Company before, so it was a bit of a risk for me, because if it went poorly it would have been my fault. My favorite memory spanned the three-night run of the show. Every night, I watched the crowd grow bigger and bigger, until I looked out over the audience on Sunday to see one of the biggest crowds I had seen in my time with The Company. To know that so many people wanted to see this show that I had put so much work into was beyond incredible.


5. I know theatre is a huge part of your life. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to direct in the future or wants to be involved in theatre?

If you want to be involved in theater, do it! I can tell you quite honestly that theater has changed my life, and I don’t mean that in any cliché way. Theater brought me out of my shell in high school and led me to change majors here. I wouldn’t have met any of my dearest friends at Saint Vincent if I hadn’t done theater, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to become the person I am now without the chance to be seen onstage.

As for directing, take time to consider your other responsibilities. Directing is massively time-consuming and can be terribly stressful, but it can also be very rewarding too. If you want to direct, earn the trust and respect of your peers and act responsibly. Leadership and responsibility will make everything easier in the end. Most of all, have fun with it. If you aren’t having fun, your cast won’t either.

6. What is your favorite show that you have seen or been in?

My favorite show that I’ve seen is either Phantom of the Opera or Lion King. It makes me cry every time. My favorite show that I’ve been in is Godspell. It’s a funky little show that I remember the entire cast looking back on with a collective “eh,” But Godspell was the first time I had a role in a show, and it was a bigger role too! I firmly believe that if I hadn’t been given a chance there, I wouldn’t still be in theater now.


7. What is your favorite memory from Saint Vincent?

Ordering pizza in Gerry and having the delivery man recognize me from Damn Yankees and start telling me how much he loved the show, all while I was trying to pay for my pizza.

8. If you could meet any celebrity who would it would be and why?

Daisy Ridley because I am a huge Star Wars fan. Plus, she seems pretty funny.


9. What is one final interesting fact about you?

I have a “pet” washboard that I keep in my room and bring to the dressing room of The Company’s shows. The washboard’s name is Barron. He lives behind my Keurig.