About Philicia Saunders

Philicia SaundersPhilicia recently completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in acting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. She has performed in several productions at UCLA and in community theaters.

Growing up, Philicia was a high-performing student in the classroom, and a focused speed and synchronized swimmer in the pool. While participating in a rigorous college preparatory program, she discovered an interest in theater. She began participating in school and community theater productions, and earned a scholarship to attend the California Arts Institute. She also volunteered at the League of Allied Arts Corporation—an organization that provides at-risk youth with performing arts programs.

Philicia continued to pursue her interest in theater as an undergraduate at Princeton University, majoring in East Asian Studies and minoring in Theater Arts. Her junior year, she spent a semester in an intensive Japanese language program in Kyoto, Japan. As a senior, she produced two thesis projects. The first, Sowing the Seeds of J-Horror: The Cross-Fertilization of Japanese and American Horror Cinema, was her extensive research analysis of Japanese and American horror films. The second was her solo performance of Fires in the Mirror by Anna Deavere Smith, which explored identity politics through the Crown Heights conflict between the African American, Caribbean, and Lubavitch communities. Performing in a one-woman show was a dream come true for Philicia. She mastered seven dialects to play 24 characters, transitioning from one character to another seamlessly for two hours.

After graduating from Princeton, Philicia studied classical Shakespeare acting in Oxford, England at the British American Drama Academy. She made her acting debut in the Los Angeles community theater at the Ark Theatre Company in 2011, playing Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the summer of 2012, Philicia attended the Guthrie Theater for Actors in Training in Minneapolis, where she and 11 other graduate actors selected from around the country were given the opportunity to write and produce a play showcased at the Guthrie.

Helping her community is Philicia’s other passion, and she has long sought out volunteer activities that enable her to do just that. She was a scholarship recipient and volunteer for the League of Allied Arts Corporation. Its primary program is an outreach performing arts theater for at-risk youth that provides the children a constructive and creative opportunity for artistic expression. Philicia enjoys working with youth performing arts programs and she will continue as a volunteer teacher in community based theater. Her volunteer effort in her community stimulated her interest to further her studies in theater at UCLA. Philicia’s goal is to continue to advocate for creating more youth performing arts programs in schools where they can continue to build artistic skills as well as cultivate a life-long appreciation of the arts.

Though often described by her peers as a person who burns a candle at both ends, Philicia still finds time to laugh with friends, to bake cakes with her mom, and to practice yoga. She also still does the occasional synchronized swimming routine for fun and laughs at herself when the routine does not go as planned.