Another Unique Opportunity for UVA Drama Students
Each fall, students in the UVA Department of Drama know one thing for sure – they are in for a big surprise. That is because of a unique partnership with the Virginia Film Festival that results in what are often star-studded visits by some of its most high-profile guests. This year was certainly no exception. Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award-winner Liv Ullmann, recognized as one of the finest actors of her time, stopped by Drama to talk about her career and to offer advice for the students’ own artistic pursuits. Ullmann, like many of the VFF guests who have visited the department, offered a Master Class for students. The visitors also included a brush with history-making movie royalty in the person of Paige O’Hara, a “Disney Legend” and the voice of Belle in the groundbreaking 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast. O’Hara was joined by her husband, actor Michael Piontek.
“I think what I especially appreciated this year,” said UVA Department of Drama Chair Colleen Kelly, “was the scope and the depth that all three of these artists offered our students in terms of thinking about what it is to be an artist.” She was also impressed by the range of experiences this particular trio was able to share. “They talked about their experience in the theatre, on stage, and both behind and in front of the camera and in the world of animation. I think it gives our students an opportunity to really re-identify themselves as artists and, we hope it inspires them to seek out projects that bring them alive artistically.” Kelly said that the annual visits are made even more rewarding and exciting by the fact that they come completely without expectation. "We obviously don’t know going into any given year who is going to come talk to our students, but the Festival has done an incredible job of facilitating these visits and we are continually impressed with the generosity of these artists to share their time and talents. And to have actors who have played a major role in the tradition of American theatre and film like Hal Holbrook, and also young artists like Will Forte and Mia Wasikowska – it is such a gift to our students.”