Teacher Spotlight: Neal Gage

Alaina Galasso, Editor-In-Chief

The best kind of teachers are the ones who have a multitude of real world experience in various areas. They don’t teach the students just what is required by the curriculum, but also expand their students’ knowledge with valuable advice that they themselves  have picked up . Neal Gage is one of these teachers. Not only does he teach his technical theatre students how to build sets, program lighting and run a sound board, but he also helps students with preparation for their future careers. His extensive background in both theatre and film give him the experience necessary to effectively give his students the information needed to succeed in the real world.

Previously, Gage acted and directed at local theatres and landed some roles in movies, short films and commercials. However, Gage ended up at Vandegrift after his wife got a job in Austin.  Now, he has directed the theatre program’s production of Cinderella, tech directed Come Blow Your Horn and Elephant Man and is currently tech directing the UIL One Act Play (OAP) David and Lisa.

“I am proud of bringing a level of organization and, hopefully, professionalism to this program,” Gage said. “This year was about creating a level of expectation the students might not be used to yet.”

Gage would like to see VHS’ theatre program become the local theatre of choice for people outside of the school so every performance can sell out. Furthermore, he would like to help the OAP compete at the state level every year, as he has been able to do in his previous job as a high school theatre director.

“I want our community to expect a high quality show [from the VHS theatre department],” Gage said.

Gage has been involved with credited filmwork since about 2000. Some of his favorite roles are when he was a body double for Luke Perry in the movie Red Wing and when he had a speaking role on the TV show Salem. Other projects include a featured role on the show 20/20, principal roles in Compass Bank, Chevron, BP Oil and Turbo Tax commercials and a lead role in the movie Twelve Hungry Men and in the shorts Injustice and Eternal Peace. He would like to continue to work and make some money from acting as a parttime job in the future. His goal is to have some sort of recurring role on a TV show like CSI or NCIS.

“[Acting] is a chance to forget daily troubles in my life and step outside to be someone else for a day,” Gage said. “I also like to make connections with actors and crew in the film arena.”

Gage’s advice for students who wish to pursue acting or film is not wait to start later and to find acting work on your own. He encourages students to find acting classes, sign up for casting calls in the area and to work really hard at doing so.

“You can be successful at pretty much anything if you put in the work to get yourself there,” Gage said. “But it’s not going to come to you. You have to go get it.”