Van Phillips served on the faculty of Purdue University, Theatre Division from 1974 until his retirement in May of 2001. During those 27 years Van led Purdue’s effort to establish the Master of Fine Arts in theatre, created a Design and Technical Theatre program that gained fame for its quality, the quality of the graduates and two unique graduate focus programs: Theatre Consulting and Engineering in Theatre.
Van is a “full” card member of the United Scenic Artists in New York. His scenic design credits include numerous professional United States productions for theatre, opera, ballet, and television/film. Van is both a Fellow of the US Institute for Theatre Technology, and a USITT Founders Award recipient. His practice of using the newest technologies in designing for productions has assured that his theatre architecture projects reflect the most versatile and applicable technology found today.
Van Phillips is President and Senior Consultant with Jones & Phillips Associates, Inc. whose work has received acclaim across the United States and internationally. Van discovered his keen interest in theatrical architecture when working as Assistant Technical Director at the Dallas Theatre Center in the early 1960’s. Van’s grass-roots beginning as a user of theatres allowed him to grow into an internationally known theatre planner. His experience as a professional designer is the background he brings to the programming and design of theatres and places of public assembly today. In his 35-year career as a theatre planner sample projects include the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center, the News Journal Center and the Orlando Convention Center. Notable international theatre planning includes the Shandong Cultural and Performance Center and the Suzhou Central Theatre Center, both in China and the Islamic Conference Center for King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Van continues to help Purdue Theatre graduates as they transition into professional careers via his professional connections.