Daina Giesler Returns to Head USF Theater Program

September 6, 2018 | Joliet, Ill.

Daina Giesler has returned to USF to once again head the university’s theater program! She invites all interested community members, actors and stage people to audition for a role in the Sherlock Holmes favorite, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” in an open audition on Monday, Sept. 10, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Turk Theater, located in the Moser Performing Arts Center on USF’s main campus. No previous experience is required. For more information, please contact Giesler at daina.giesler@yahoo.com.

Giesler, who returns to USF after a ten-year absence, is happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

“I had the most wonderful experience here,” Giesler said. “I felt at home and connected to the students. It is so good to be back.”

Giesler, who had served as the USF Director of Theater for ten years and also taught some theater classes, left the university in 2008 to care for her ailing father.

As she reacquaints herself with the university, Giesler is anxious to get to work on her first production of the year, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” which will run on November 9-11, 2018, in USF’s Turk Theater. The production is also a dinner theater production.

“I love designing shows in a way that integrates the venue’s space,” she said. “Art and theater provide a human experience. Putting together a production of any size is a collaborative experience, so this will certainly be an exciting start to the year.”

While she began to develop her love of the theater with on-stage roles at a young age, Giesler said she always had an eye for the creative aspect of directing.

“I was on stage as a dancer at five years old,” she said. “I had roles in plays and in musicals, but I always found myself looking at how I would do productions my own way. Before long, I arrived at the conclusion that I loved lighting, sound, stage, scenery and spectacle. I loved directing.”

Since then, Giesler’s love of the theater has amassed an impressive list of directorial credits. She has directed more than sixty productions with a variety of schools, theaters and playhouses, including USF, Triton Community College, the Oswego Playhouse, Steel Beam Theatre, and Dainamite Studios in Illinois, and Theatre Charlotte in North Carolina. She also served as the artist-in-residence and drama specialist for Henry Street Art Center in New York.

Giesler’s work has also earned her critical recognition, including being named the Theatre Person of the Year and Best Director (Comedy) by Theatre Charlotte in 2000.

In addition to her efforts to create unique theater productions as a director, Giesler also employs her own critical eye to Chicago-based theatrical productions as a member of Chicago’s Jeff Awards Committee. The Jeff Awards, according to www.jeffawards.org, “has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. The Jeff Awards is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors.” The committee, “consists of up to 55 men and women with varying backgrounds in theatre, but united by an active interest and concern. They come to the committee with an academic background in theatre, significant professional experience, a history of theatre involvement, and/or years of consistent theatre attendance in Chicago and in other major theatre capitals of the world.”

As a member of the Jeff Awards Committee, Giesler takes in over 200 Chicago area theater productions each year, which she knows helps her as a director.

“Creatively, it is important to see what’s out there,” Giesler said. “Being able to see the creative efforts of others motivates me artistically to put together my own vision for a given production.”

Tickets for the USF productions of The Hound of the Baskervilles will go on sale soon. Audience members will have the option of purchasing a dinner served just before the performance begins. Tickets will be $10 for general admission ($7 for seniors, alums, and non-USF students) or $25 for dinner and the play. Performances will be November 9th and 10th at 7:30 p.m., and November 11th at 3 p.m. in USF’s Turk Theater. Dinner tickets will need to be purchased by Sunday, November 4th. Please call 800-735-7500 for more information.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 4,100 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 49,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.