Graduating Seniors Ready to Take Next Step

Beth Fhaner
 | May 16, 2017
Gillian Gonzalez in Mary Poppins

Gillian Gonzalez as a statue of Queen Victoria with the cast of the Theatre Conservatory's Summer Players production of Mary Poppins.

Meet Gillian Gonzalez

This season, five graduating seniors are included among South Coast Repertory’s most advanced teen students (the Teen Players and the Teen Ensemble acting class). All of these students got their start in the Summer Acting Workshop and have continued to participate in SCR acting classes throughout the last several years.

In this mini-blog series, we’re introducing all of this year’s graduating seniors. In this post, meet Gillian Gonzalez, who is currently a student in the Teen Ensemble. She first came to SCR to attend an acting class the summer after she completed seventh grade. After also participating in the Summer High School Intensive program at Shakespeare Orange County, Gonzalez came to the realization that she needed more acting experience than what she could acquire from her school productions, so she returned to

When asked to describe some of the highlights of her acting classes, Gonzalez mentions her first-year teacher, Chris Sullivan, as someone who is a delight to work with because he is so entertaining to be around. She also brings up her group from last year, which was taught by Deb Marley, and Gonzalez notes that the group did an abridged version of Aristophanes' The Frogs.

“The whole conceptualization process of giving the play an updated setting​—a college fraternity​—was loads of fun,” she says.

Gonzalez recalls that SCR's Summer Players production of Mary Poppins is what really made her fall in love with the program. She went into ​​rehearsal not knowing a single person, but recalls that everybody in the cast was so friendly and supportive.

Looking back at her participation in SCR’s acting classes, Gonzalez admits that she developed many new skills including learning a great deal about physicality in developing a character, as well as making each choice onstage a genuine one. She cites the various teachers at SCR as being all extremely different people who have different teaching and directing methods.

“All are wonderful to work with, and having such a variety [of teachers] to be taught by helps young actors learn to adjust to different types of directors that they may meet later in their careers,” she explains.

As for life beyond high school, Gonzalez has her sights set on attending Orange Coast College this August and she plans to be a theatre major. While she prepares to take that next step in her life, she says that not only have Theatre Conservatory classes helped her develop as an actor, but also as a person. “I work much better with people than I did at the start of my time at SCR,” she shares. “I've gone from an extreme introvert who can’t approach a cast of strangers to being able to make friends in the first week of rehearsals, which will help me later on in life when moving into new environments.”

Learn more about acting classes for kids and teens.