Neil Vanderpool graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in both professional dance and theatre in1989. During his years at BYU Vanderpool earned a Directing Assistantship with Chuck Metten and Jean Jenkins, in which capacity he was able to gain hands-on directing, scenic artistry, and stage management experience. Under the tutelage of Clayne Robison he also had the opportunity to direct eleven BYU-produced operas, operettas, and opera scenes, including The Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte. Because of these experiences Vanderpool also had the opportunity to teach some of the directing classes as an undergraduate. He was also the first person to ever direct a production of Sweeney Todd in Utah. Other professors with whom Vanderpool worked include Barta Heiner, Rory Scanlon, and Janet Swenson. The experiences and learning he received at BYU have shaped and set a foundation for his entire career.
After finishing his bachelor's degrees Vanderpool started into a master's program at BYU. Soon afterwards he accepted a position at Brainerd Community College Central Lakes College in Minnesota. While in Minnesota he served as the Chair/Producer and Artistic Director at Brainerd College and also as the Artistic Director and Producer for the Armory Theater Company. His time in Minnesota was filled with directing various plays, including Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas Carol, The Sound of Music, and many more. He also ended up founding his own theater company and presented several plays there as well.
After a few years in Minnesota he moved to the University of Oregon to complete his Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Directing and Administration. Upon completion of his master's degree he received a job offer at the University of Arizona, where he directed the MFA and BFA directing programs. Soon after that he became the Chair of Theatre and Dance at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio for four years.
From Ohio he went to the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, where he was the head of the Department of Performing Arts from 2003-2007. For the next four years he held the position of Department Chair in the Department of Communication and Dramatic Arts at Central Michigan University, and since that time has been a faculty member and administrator of the Division of Communication and Performing Arts at Salt Lake Community College.
Throughout his career Vanderpool has directed or choreographed multiple plays--mostly, he says, Shakespeare productions and musicals. Not limited to only the stage, Vanderpool has also been involved with documentaries and other films, including A More Perfect Union (1989). He has also presented workshops on the different aspects of theater all across the United States, from Miami to California.
In 2012 Vanderpool directed Into the Woods, produced by the Grand Theatre.
Vanderpool is currently the Associate Dean of the Division of Communication and Performing Arts at Salt Lake Community College in Utah.
- The Salt Lake Tribune - Vocal ensemble finds the heart of 'Into the Woods' (15 Oct 2012)
- The Deseret News - Journeying 'Into the Woods' with Grand cast (15 Oct 2012)
- The Deseret News - Grand Theatre invites on journey 'Into the Woods' (6 Oct 2012)
- Central Michigan Life - 'Everyman' to bring messages about morality, God, Death to modern audiences Thursday (26 Jan 2011)