Ever wonder about those student actors you see on VSU’s stage? Here’s a little bit about some of the theater program’s finest.
A senior theatre major from Adel, Ga., Raoul Barnick is a small-town boy with big city dreams. His theatre career began in first grade when he was selected to play the narrator in a class production of “The Three Little Pigs.”
“She thought I had a good voice, so she made me the narrator for the Christmas show,” Barnick says.
Since then, his experiences include dislocating a shoulder onstage during a performance of “MacBeth” working with The Lost Colony, a professional theatre company in North Carolina this past summer. Barnick can be seen as Solyony in VSU Theatre’s upcoming production of Anton Chekov’s “Three Sisters.After graduation in May, he plans to return to The Lost Colony but is also considering a one-year contract with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre based near Detroit. Barnick plans to work his way up in the theatre to perform on Broadway in New York City.
Born and raised in Valdosta, Katie Barnett, senior theatre major, says that she sometimes feels like a small-town celebrity.
“I get people that come up to me in the bank and ask me things like, ‘Are you that crazy girl from that one show?’” she says.
Barnett performed in her first play, “My Favorite Year,” at the ‘Dosta Playhouse in downtown Valdosta the summer before her senior year. With VSU’s theatre department, she says that she has been in at least eight plays in addition to several ballets and fundraising shows. Her next show will be VSU’s annual dance show at the end of April.
Though theatre is not easy, Barnett says that it is the most fun that she has ever had.
“If you work a day that’s from 8:30 in the morning until 11 at night and you still like it, this is what you should be doing,” she says.
After graduation, Barnett has a dance internship lined up in Sarasota, Fla.
Phillip Jones, senior theater major, offers three simple rules for aspiring actors: “Be yourself. Have confidence. Do everything.”
Jones got his start in theatre as a sophomore in high school when he was cast in his school’s spring musical.
“I’ve always wanted to act,” Jones says. “My mom always thought I would be an actor and many of my teachers did as well. I became friends with a few kids who were involved in theatre, and so they convinced me to audition. The rest is history.”
Jones’ resume includes about 30 on-stage performances, his favorite of which was “Ragtime.” He says that he has been involved to some degree in at least 50 shows. His next role will be in next month’s performance of Anton Chekov’s “Three Sisters.”
He is excited to move to Chicago in June to pursue his interests in writing and directing.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I totally believe that, and that’s why I do theatre,” Carla Oliver, senior theatre major, says.
Before coming to VSU from Snellville, Ga., Olivar had performed in only two shows, both in high school. Over the past four years, she has been in 20 shows including “Aladdin,” “Sugarbabies,” ‘Showboat,” “Ragtime,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Footloose,” and a Christmas show at Wild Adventures Theme Park. Her favorite show, she says, was “Damn Yankees,” in which she played Lola, her first real lead. After graduating in May, Olivar will play in “Mulan” with Peach State Summer Theatre at VSU until July. She will be taking a 10-month internship with Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tenn. in September.
Hannah Woods, senior theater major, has been performing since she was eight years old. She was in chorus all through middle school and started acting in ninth grade. Since then, she has been in about 18 shows, including nine at VSU.
Some of Woods’ previous roles include Olivia in William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and Rose of Sharon in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” She can be seen next as Masha in VSU’s upcoming production of Anton Chekov’s “Three Sisters.”
Woods has worked professionally with Peach State Summer Theatre in various areas including Management, Administration, and Public Relations. Her resumé, she says, is pretty much balanced between the three areas of production, performance, and management.
This June, she will be taking a job in Missoula, Mont., touring and teaching plays to kids.