UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 11 Winter 19 Library
Jack Looney
Miller Arts Scholars

Payton Moledor - Taking Her Talents Across the Pond

Third-year Payton Moledor is an artist who has never been afraid of expanding her horizons. Four years ago, she left all the comforts of her high school home to chase her dreams at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts High School Drama Program, and from the time she arrived on Grounds, she has made the most of her acting opportunities. Her first semester at UVA, Moledor answered an early call from UVA Drama professor Marianne Kubik seeking actors for a Mainstage production and dove right into the ensemble. "That is how she introduced herself to UVA Drama," Kubik recently told UVA Today, "and she has been an active member of our community ever since." Looking at Moledor's resume, "active" seems to be an understatement. The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholar has served as co-president of the Virginia Players, the student theatre group based in the Department of Drama; she is publicity manager for the Miller Arts Scholars and former publicity manager for First Year Players; she has served as a committee member on the UVA Student Council Arts Committee; and she has worked as social media student worker at the University Communications Office. Onstage, she has played significant roles in the Department of Drama productions and performed in the ensemble of the highly successful and critically acclaimed production of Leonard Bernstein's Mass at the Paramount Theatre last year. She has also performed professionally at UVA’s Heritage Theatre Festival and at multiple other professional venues along the East Coast. This Fall, Moledor took her talent and her drive across the pond to study classical acting at the oldest drama school in the United Kingdom, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), thanks to grants from the University Award for Projects in the Arts and Miller Arts Scholars programs. During her time overseas, she performed in three classical plays at LAMDA and continued her theatrical research by attending more than 30 performances on the West End, at Shakespeare’s Globe, and at the National Theatre.

Payton Moledor in Harvey at Heritage Theatre Festival
(Photo: Jack Looney)

Choosing between an acting conservatory and the rigorous academic experience at UVA was a difficult one, Moledor said, but one that has paid off in many ways. “At the University of Virginia, I have been given the gift of creating that path for myself, and I have been shown many terrific opportunities for exploring theatre. However, while my time at the University of Virginia has given me the gift of freedom to explore my personal artistic interests, I still find myself craving more focused performance training.” The London experience will more than satisfy this craving, Moledor wrote in her grant application, citing the rare opportunity to delve deeply into the works of Shakespeare on his own literal turf, and the myriad benefits of being a part of the London theater scene. “London is one of the largest theatrical centers in the world and being exposed to the greatest performers and plays of my generation will give me a chance to focus on one thing: improving my craft.” 

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