JaMario Stills

Founder - Phase Eight Theater Company




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I believe that dissatisfaction is a creative state. Innovators embrace this belief. Breaking tradition to pave new paths for their industry. Dissatisfaction inspired Thomas Edison’s incandescent lightbulb and Henry Ford’s production of the automobile. They knew their ultimate purpose. The passion they had propelled the most exciting advancements in the world. My passion is rooted in the performing arts. I studied theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and subsequently graduated from The Juilliard School’s Drama Division. After college, I performed in nationally recognized Regional Theaters. I was in awe of the creative and communal ecosystems surrounding the performances. It inspired me to create a similar institution for my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

I founded Phase Eight Theater Company with the intention to become Florida’s next great Regional Theater. Phase Eight strives to push the boundaries of performance with innovative and provocative storytelling. Our diverse ensemble of actors and writers represent the unique voices of our region. Jacksonville’s rich tradition of theater motivates our company to elevate our artistry to national acclaim.

The vision of a podcast network was born from observing local influencers, exchanging their thoughts and ideas on social media. They’d discuss an array of matters ranging from art to business. I expressed to my partners, Heather Moore, and Tim Driscoll, the idea of creating a podcast network hosted by these social engineers. We formulated a strategy and ECPN was launched. The hosts invite guests that represent their show’s theme. Gaining intimate insight into what guides these professionals has had an impactful effect on our listeners.

Jacksonville’s community of filmmakers is incredibly talented in expressing their creativity through the lens. I noticed locally produced work being shared online. After watching these movies, I shared them with WJCT Studio CEO, David McGowan. He was supportive in piloting ECPN as a WJCT radio program. McGowan’s encouragement for a local film platform generated the creation of Ville Films. With WJCT’s support, Ville Films is slated as an upcoming showcase of local shorts for their television platform.

The theme of these ventures is my connection to my hometown. I walk in the paths of Jacksonville greats such as James Weldon Johnson, Eartha White, and Robert Lee Hayes. These pioneers, along with many others, devoted their lives to lifting every voice of Jacksonville.

Phase Eight, Essential Culture Podcast Network and Ville Films are catalysts to continue the tradition of sharing our story.

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