Theatre of Western Springs Spotlight: Bill Hyland

Bill Hyland
Bill Hyland | Submitted by the Theatre of Western Springs
May 22 12:37 p.m.

Get to know the community of Western Springs with our Theatre of Western Springs Spotlight feature!

This week, we meet Bill Hyland of Glen Ellyn who is basically a brand new member of the theatre as he joined just last year (2013).

Q. Why did you join TWS?

A. As a recent transplant from the off-loop theater scene, I wanted an artistic home, close to my new home, where I could continue my love of theatre and acting. My eyes grew as big as saucers when I saw the following mention in the Glen Ellyn Suburban Life Newspaper: “Theatre Great to Teach Acting.” I had known of Rick Snyder from my acting days in Chicago. To me, there is no one who better works the stage and exemplifies great theater than Rick. Plus he was going to teach an upcoming studio class at TWS. This was my chance to get back in the game, work on my craft, meet new people and have fun doing it. I had always heard of TWS, but I didn’t know I could really be a part of it, and now here I am.

Q. Go back in time. When did you discover you had an interest in theatre/drama?

A. I look back and my interest really began when I was a young kid. I craved being the center of attention. I especially liked to entertain my family by creating and performing funny skits with my four female cousins. I was always the lead of course. (Insert a wink and a smile.) I created this character named Dr. Fuzznots, a bizarre dentist who used anything but actual dental instruments. So each of my cousins played a wacky patient of mine, and I would use my grandfather’s tools (i.e., hammer, pliers, drill and sandpaper) as props and sound effects. Strange, indeed. But my very first stage appearance happened in kindergarten when I was one of the townspeople in a play titled, “The Tale of the Gingerbread Man.” I remember we all got a huge gingerbread man cookie and grape juice after the performance, which was probably my first cast party.

Q. What theatre have you done outside of TWS?

A. I’ve worked with numerous non-equity houses in Chicago known for quality theatre (e.g., Profiles Theatre, The Artistic Home, New Leaf Theatre, Jackalope Theatre). My wife and I were the co-founding members of New Leaf Theatre which started in 2000. Some of my favorite roles included George in “Of Mice and Men,” Bo Decker in “Bus Stop,” Delmount Williams in “The Miss Firecracker Contest” and Lloyd in “Reckless.”

Q. At TWS, have you worked on a crew, backstage or in the lobby? If so, tell about it.

A. I was part of the hospitality crew for TWS mainstage production of “Unnecessary Farce.” It was my first tour of duty at TWS, and I enjoyed greeting everyone in the lobby with a warm and mellow hello. I hope to do more behind-the-scenes work, but mostly, I look forward to stepping onstage to play once again.

Q. At TWS, do you hope to act on stage? Why?

A. Plain and simple, I would love to be on stage at TWS. I love to tell a story and bring myself to a character. I experience tremendous joy being on stage with other talented actors, being close to the audience and playing. This is a new chapter in my life. I’m a new father. My wife and I moved to Glen Ellyn from Chicago over a year ago, just before the birth of our son Aidan. So it’s a new beginning in every way, and I’m happy TWS can be a part of it.

Q. What is your impression of TWS thus far?

A. TWS is about people, having fun and making connections and friendships. It’s a family atmosphere where your talents are appreciated, cultivated and shared. 

Q. TWS has flourished for 85 years. Can you tell why?

A. Again, it’s the people and the love of theatre and storytelling.

Q. Tell me about something that was/is/will be a really big thrill for you at TWS.

A. Studio I was such a thrill for me because it introduced me to TWS. Plus, my fellow studio mates were so much fun to play with and share the love of our craft. Being taught by Rick was pretty darn nifty too!

Q. List three things you want to give to TWS.

A. My talent, my love and my generosity.

Q. List three things you hope TWS will give to you.

A. An artistic home, new experiences and lasting friendships.

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