Empowering future stars: William Francis McGuire’s impact on Saddleback College

Bill McGuire (far left) meets with students after his fundamentals of acting class. Sara Puckett I Lariat

From work in The Day after Tomorrow, Mission Impossible III, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, Saving Grace, CSI, Drake and Josh, Criminal Minds; Suspect behavior and much more William Francis McGuire, actor and theater instructor at Saddleback, has done it all.

McGuire has a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA in acting from YALE’S School of Drama. People who are passionate about their career follow through with it and McGuire does just that. He still does theater and goes into rehearsal at the end of October for the play, A Christmas Carol at the South Coast Repertory, which is a Tony Award winning theater in Costa Mesa.

Michelle McDougal Jackson shares her perspective on McGuire and his work ethic.

“Bill is such a hardworking professor. He cares so deeply about the theatre arts department, he cares deeply about modeling professionalism for the students while also creating a safe and equitable learning environment for our students. You can just really see it in everything he does,” Jackson said.

Within the Saddleback Theatre Department, students can pursue many areas of study. Some of which include, directing, performance and acting, technical theater, theater appreciation history, theater technology, and scenic art and painting.

“Unlike a lot of other departments at the school, we really interface with the community quite a bit, because we do shows and performances and we get people from all areas of the community coming in to see the campus which is a great way to just get people here,” McGuire said.

The college theatre department integrates the community lifestyle, but it also gives students the needed preparation and training at the highest level to help students move on to a 4-year school or to enter the profession. Students may want to explore other areas of the department and now they can because McGuire said that they have just included a musical theater degree which just started this year.

“Students aren’t stuck in one box, with only one door they have to go through. There’s another option for students who also like to sing and dance or just any Saddleback student who wants to try something new. These include, such as, musical theatre, technical theatre, and performance and acting, said McGuire.

“The entertainment industry itself may seem daunting and nerve racking for many,” he said.

For students who are unfamiliar with the theater department, it feels as if you’re trespassing in unknown territory and not sure what can happen at any second.

“Come to the theater department and talk to me,” he said. “A lot of people get nervous, but theater is the most welcoming community on the planet. It really is. Theater people accept everybody.” For students who may want to look into it, right now is a great time because of how active it is.

“The entertainment industry is one where you must have thick skin. You will be told no a hundred times before you get one yes. However, mistakes are made. One of the main ones being actors who focus too much on getting work,” McGuire said.

“People are so worried about getting work that they’re not worried about getting good,” McGuire said, “Don’t worry about getting work because if you get good, you’ll get work.”

“Patience is key with this profession and takes a lot of time and dedication. If you have those two things, it can take you very far,” he said.

An example of some actors who are dedicated and talented, are the theater students right here in Saddleback’s very own theater department! This year, students can expect to see a variety of shows. This fall there’s two productions. One of which is a musical, Carrie. Based on Stephen King’s novel, which was made into a film that is now a musical theater piece and students are currently working hard in rehearsals! This musical will be in the Mckinney theater from November 3rd-5th.

From Dec.1st-3rd and Dec.6th-10th, Twelve Angry Jurors will also be presented.

“It’s “a really interesting play about people in a jury room trying to decide the guilt or innocence of somebody and is a great examination of peoples preconceived notions about who other people are and prejudices. It’s a fascinating story,” McGuire said.

In the Spring, students can look forward to the play, She Kills Monsters.

“It’s a great play about a young woman, who goes looking for her sister who passed away and she’s trying to find her sister through a dungeons and dragons game that she put together and played. She’s battling monsters and all these fights. It should be really fun,” McGuire said.

The last musical of the Spring semester is going to be a small piece called Ordinary Days. 

“It’s about people in New York that is really just a tender lovely musical,” McGurie said.