NEWS // NOW PLAYING:
Feature film debut! RUSTIN, dir. George C, Wolfe and starring Colman Domingo and
Audra McDonald, comes to Netflix in fall 2023
Emily returns to the Maryland Renaissance Festival Acting Company, August 26 - October 22, 2023
Emily H. Gilson
Actor | Voice Talent | Playmaker | Teaching Artist
I love stories - reading them, telling them, making them.
I'm a classically trained actor and vocalist, mezzo-soprano (or soprano with a solid bottom, as my voice teacher says), teaching artist, voiceover artist, historian, DIY-er, foodie, lover of coffee, cheese, and a great scotch, bookworm, and unashamed nerd born, raised, and based in Washington, DC. I get told I look uncannily like Winona Ryder a lot and I think she's pretty great - so I'm rolling with it. I count Doctor Who and Firefly as the two scifi greatest shows ever made, and Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman as the greatest scifi/fantasy writers. I'm also an obsessive medievalist - it's my favorite historical era, and when all my worlds collide with with it, I geek out - sit me down and read me Chaucer and you've got a new friend. I'm also happy to say I've met my acting heroes and will share my geeky fangirl stories as a party trick. There's also cool TV Americana in my family - a cousin was the late radio and TV actor and screenwriter Bill Idelson, who played Herman Glimscher on The Dick Van Dyke Show and wrote for The Twilight Zone and The Andy Griffith Show (not that I expect this to ever get me anywhere...).
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purchase College, SUNY, with a double major in Theatre and Medieval History/Literature (there's that Chaucerian again!), my big loves. In addition to acting I spend many of my days as a licensed elementary school substitute teacher and teaching artist, and can usually be found with a cup of coffee or three, snuggling my rescue cat, Lucy.
As an artist, I specialize in vulnerable, assimilated truth-seekers who find authenticity in outsiders. I've had the privilege of originating multiple new works with several of DC's emerging playwrights - Patrick Flynn's The Ferberizing of Coral, in which I originated the roles of Coral aged 8 and 17, was published in Samuel French's Off-Off Broadway Festival Plays, 43rd Series in August 2019. I was a founding collaborator with Tradition Be Damned (TBD) Immersive, DC's first company dedicated entirely to immersive work, founded in 2016, and since 2021 have been studying classical and contemporary musical theatre voice with Dan Thaler of Matt Farnsworth Vocal Studio in New York City.
When Covid-19 closed the world down in 2020, my practice shifted towards training, solo work, and voiceover. I continued my training, fully remotely, with a remarkable international company of artists at the Shaw Festival in Ontario, and Zoom as a new medium allowed me to join podcasts and a variety of global livestreamed projects while moving my teaching artistry online, with students and castmates as far as Singapore, the UK, South America, and Israel.
I am a resident Company Member of the Acting Company at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, helmed by Carolyn Spedden, and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. In 2022, 5 weeks after joining SAG, I was cast by Tony-winning director and playwright George C. Wolfe in my first feature film role in RUSTIN, starring Colman Domingo and Audra McDonald, slated for release on Netflix in 2023.