Princeton Echols: A Playwright’s Journey from Accounting to Theatre

Posted on Nov 11 2016 - 12:51pm by Madison Stirsman

Ole Miss Alumni, Princeton Echols, may have started his career in accounting, but his hidden passion for acting and theatre led him in a completely different direction.

Echols, an actor and playwright, had an interesting start before entering the entertainment world. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2010 with a major in Accounting and a minor in management. Despite his surprising start, Echols always knew that he was destined for something else and at the age of 25, chose to follow his dream of acting. The transition from a 9-5 job to a career in acting came with completely different challenges and adjustments.

“From my everyday career to acting, that was a complete adjustment because for the first time I have been completely in control of my own schedule,” he said. “I get up working. I go to bed at night working. I am always working even when I am not in front of my laptop.”

Echols started his acting career by taking acting classes in Tennessee. In 2013 he auditioned for his first play “Grease” at the Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis. After booking that gig, Echols immediately auditioned for “Secrets,” and took on the two plays at the same time.  

“The plays and the acting classes were what sparked my career,” he said. “I have been acting ever since.”

After acting for a while, Echols felt inspired to take his creative skills down a different path. He decided he wanted to write a play. He credited his inspiration to a vision from God, stating that it was “clear as day.” Shortly after, he started writing his production “The Royal Family.”  

“Writing came this year,” Echols said. “I just started to begin to write. I have always been creative and I have always had ideas but I never wrote them down and put them into action.”

“The Royal Family,” had its start in Memphis. Now, with considerable buzz and positive publicity created generated by show, the production is being brought to the Ole Miss campus. Kate Meacham, marketing director of the Ford Center, expressed her excitement of having a young independent playwright bring his production to Oxford.

“We are thrilled to have him here,” Meacham said. “We are excited to have a new young author bring his work to the Ford Center.”

“The Royal Family” is a family oriented production that highlights issues that are not normally brought to the attention of our society. The performance brings forward different issues and differences and offers the audience ways to deal with them. Echols wants the audience to leave his production feeling inspired and relieved from personal problems of their own.

“I want the audience to feel rejuvenated and encouraged and completely blessed by the production,” he said. “I want people to be touched by it. I want them leave with an open heart willing to forgive other for anything, willing to never judge others in a situation. I always want them to leave there entertained and wanting to tell more people about the production in a positive light”

Although switching career paths had its challenges and adjustments, Echols is still growing and learning with his new career everyday.

“It can get overwhelming but it is never too much. It never gets to the point where I want to quit,” he said. “I am learning everyday how to deal with these situations that may come with everything. My cast is so beautiful and just doing it with them makes it worthwhile”

“The Royal Family” will show at the Ford Center at 7 o’clock tonight. Doors will be opening at 6 p.m.