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BIO

Christian O'Neill is a Brooklyn-based theater director, filmmaker, teacher, writer, professional freelance videographer/editor, and graphic/website/whatever-you-need designer. He also squeezes in some time as a foster care social worker.

Originally from Cranston, Rhode Island, Christian has done a whole lot of schooling. This includes a BA in the Humanities from Providence College (concentration in Ancient History), an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College, as well as coursework in film, video and web design at University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island and extensive on-the-job training in counseling, therapy and behavior management. He has lived and worked in Providence, Boston, and New York, and now makes his home in Brooklyn.

Despite an early childhood attraction to movies and movie-making, Christian was between possible careers in Archaeology and Journalism, neither of which he has really done any of. After college, he gave two years of his life over to the AmeriCorps national service program, and it's a good thing he did, because this is where (after somehow, almost accidentally directing a middle school production of THE WIZARD OF OZ) he finally came to terms with the fact that he was in fact a director and not Indiana Jones (although he's still keeping that door open). In the intervening years, he has worked as a Youth Tracker, an Intensive Outreach Counselor, an In-School Tutor, an Awake Overnight Residential Counselor, a Welfare-to-Work Employment Skills Teacher & Job Coach, a stock boy at Benny's, a Summer Camp Director, a Pizza Dough Maker, a Sales Associate for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, a Hotel Front Desk Overnight Clerk, a Payroll Assistant for Emerson Ecollege, a Managing Producer for Playwrights Horizons Theater School @ NYU-Tisch, and, once, a completely unseen extra on Law and Order: SVU. He has Mentored young Directors professionally at both Tisch and for local theater companies, and has taught acting, improv, producing, dramaturgy, stage management and nearly every other theatrical discipline to nearly every age group at one time or another.

He has directed dozens of stage plays throughout the Northeast since beginning his career in 1999 and is a founding member of both Rhode Island Stage Ensemble (RISE) and Encore Repertory Company. He has also worked as an Associate Producing Director for the Off-Broadway Prospect Theater Company in New York. He has a special connection with the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a former vaudeville house which his productions have been helping to renovate and support for nearly as long as he has been directing, and which is the sole location of his film THEY WALK AMONG US. Since 2011, he has been the resident Drama Instructor and Stage Director for Voices Boston (formerly PALS), with whom has has directed several musicals as well as the American premieres of three children's operas: LE PETIT PRINCE (2012), MOBY DICK (2013) and THE LUMINOUS MOON (2014).

Shall I rattle off some other credits? THEY WALK AMONG US (World Premiere, 2004), A CHRISTMAS CAROL (his own adaptation, 2003), JOSEPH...DREAMCOAT(2005), BYE BYE BIRDIE (2000), BROADWAY THEN AND NOW III (1999), and assorted other musicals and revues for Encore Rep; an Appalachian-folklore-inspired production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM for Black Box Theater; the Off-Off-Broadway Premiere of THE PEOPLE COULD FLY for Prospect Theater (starring Barnum & Bailey Ringleader Jonathan Iverson); WHY THE LORD COME TO SAND MOUNTAIN and THE MYSTERY PLAYS for Brooklyn College; LEND ME A TENOR for Theater Company of Saugus; JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Emerson College; and most recently ANNIE, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and WEST SIDE STORY for Rhode Island Stage Ensemble. Chris also Assistant Directed the World Premiere of HONOR at Prospect Theater and the New York premiere of Nick's play THEY WALK AMONG US.

In 2004, Chris was awarded Emerson College's prestigious Dean's Award for the Performing Arts for his Master's Thesis, THE SONG OF NICK, a meditation on directing A NIGHT OF ANGELS, the memorial event which included the world premiere of THEY WALK AMONG US. He has also received the Joel Zwick Award for Directing while a student at Brooklyn College, and has been twice the recipient of Individual Artist grants from the Rhode Island Council on the Arts for his work on the documentary 41, which has itself been the recipient of multiple Film Festival Awards throughout North America. He has served as both Vice President and President of the Brooklyn College Graduate Organization of Directors of Theater (GODOT).

As early as 2001, Chris was also writing for the stage, with a libretto for a production of the liturgical musical THE SONG OF MARK. In 2004, he premiered his modern-day adaptation of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at the Stadium Theater in Rhode Island, which was also his first major experiment in video-live action hybridization. This technique has since become a hallmark of his work, most recently seen in JOSEPH...DREAMCOAT for RISE, in which a total of nine hours of original video scenery was integrated into the production, running simultaneously on three separate video monitors. He has also written short-form theater including the ten-minute play THE HERBALIFE DIARIES: A NUTRITIONAL FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES for the Prospect Theater/ Dark Nights play festival SUBJECT: OBJECT.

That's the other thing: he also makes films. The passing of his younger brother, the brilliant performer/musician/writer Nick O'Neill, led him to direct his first of these, a feature-length adaptation of Nick's play THEY WALK AMONG US, the first film to be made under Christian's label, Nicky's Counting Productions. The making of TWAU led to the documentary 41, a collaboration with Rhode Island filmmaker Christian de Rezendes that documents Nick's life and all that came after. In 2009, he wrote, directed and edited a somewhat damaged "rough draft" of his original short film, WORLD WIDE WEB, which he hopes to remake soon (see part of the damaged original here). He has also written an original feature screenplay, ALL SOULS, and is currently in the process of figuring out how to pay for it, i.e., pre-pre-pre-Production.

Chris has been married since 2004 to his rad wife, Leah Labrecque, a Children's Librarian at the New York Public Library. They have one son, Asher Nicholas, who is also rad. Chris enjoys traveling and wishes he could afford to do it more.