Two-time Tony award winner and Gator alumnus, John Pinckard, returned to the University of Florida to engage students with a master class titled, “Beyond Your Degree: Further Careers in the Entertainment Industry.”
“One of the biggest mistakes I see people in the arts making is that they keep pursuing the goals they started with,” Pinckard said. He offered himself as an example of someone who was willing to change course when a new opportunity matched well with his skill sets and experiences.
A Tampa native, he graduated from UF in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre, despite having started his college career as a physics major. He later worked at All Children’s Theatre, which he credits for having prepared him for his day job at JPMorgan Chase. He started at JPMorgan as a temp and was able to work his way up to executive assistant, all while pursuing his passion for theatre on the side, and learning the skills necessary to fund his future plays.
Pinckard has won two Tony awards for his work as a producer. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won Best Musical in 2014, and Clybourne Park won Best Play in 2012. However, he is well versed in lighting design and directing theatrical productions. His background in music, and his love for playing the piano, has given him the opportunity to musically direct plays in the past.
“Your art must be diverse, and your personal influences must be diverse, or else you get stuck in a rut,” Pinckard said.
He is an inaugural recipient of the T. Edward Hambleton Fellowship for creative producers. He has also been honored by UF with the Outstanding Young Alumnus award in 2009, and included in the College of the Arts Council, an alumni advisory council, in 2014. He is currently working with students on a production called Puffs, a new play in development set to open at UF’s School of Theatre and Dance the first week of June.