Meet Melissa Oulton: On Stage and Behind the Scenes
By Julie Senger
Melissa Oulton remembers her high school years where, as a freshman, she earned the coveted role of Goldilocks in a production of “Into the Woods.” She still remembers the excitement of stepping out on stage in the long, curly blonde wig and billowy red cape and skirt. After that, Melissa would obtain roles in nine more plays before graduation. Though impressive enough, Melissa has come a long way since those days.
Melissa initially enrolled at KSU with an undecided major. She decided to take Acting I, taught by Associate Professor Dean Adams, because she realized how much she missed being onstage. Melissa eventually chose to declare theatre and performance studies as her major. Since then, Adams has become her advisor and she is thriving under his “laid back teaching and mentoring style, which allows me to come to my own conclusions about things” rather than having ideas prescribed to her. She also credits her Introduction to Performance Studies class, taught by Assistant Professor Hannah Harvey, with “helping me gain confidence in my personal creativity.”
These days, Melissa’s credits have grown to include the acting role of Helen in KSU’s 2007 production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” which earned her one of only two nominations from KSU’s theatre and performance studies department to compete in the American College Theatre Festival in February 2008. However, Melissa has also expanded her resume to include the title of stage manager for last year’s production of “The Shape of Things”; and she is currently the stage manager for the production of “Robber Bridegroom.” In addition, Melissa was awarded the Glenn Hollingsworth Scholarship for outstanding theatre majors and has had the opportunity to study abroad at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland.
After she graduates from Kennesaw State, Melissa plans to look for work as an actor and as a stage manager. She has really grown to enjoy working behind the scenes just as much as she enjoys being onstage. She admits that both jobs are “really hard work” and both are also very rewarding.
As to what Melissa hopes people take away from theatre experiences she’s involved in, she says that “as a stage manager, I don’t want to be noticed because I want the audience to enter into the world that is being created—the suspension of disbelief.” As an actor, she’d like her performance to “be entertaining as well as thought provoking.”