Meet Olivia Aston: Energy filling the stage
By Kasey Carty-Campbell
Photo by Melissa Ray
With her long blonde hair flying behind her, theatre and performance studies major Olivia Aston takes in all the energy around her and magnifies it by ten. “I love high energy, comedic roles that allow me to play on the stage. I love to put my high energy into everything I do,” she says.
A recipient of the KSU Foundation Scholarship and the Fred D. Bentley Sr. Scholarship, Olivia was cast in her freshman year in “As You Like It.” She has also played parts in the KSU productions of “King of Hearts,” “The Laramie Project” and “Out of the Dark.” Last spring, with the help of KSU Assistant Professor Harrison Long, Olivia was one of four KSU students cast in the Georgia Ensemble Theatre production of “Great Expectations,” which was recently named one of the top ten Atlanta productions of the year in the Spotlight Awards of The Sunday Paper.
The connection that Long made for Olivia and 11 other KSU students involved in the production is a strength of the program that Olivia values. “The theatre and performance studies department is actively trying to find opportunities for you and help you to meet people,” she says. “Faculty want to introduce you to everyone they know in Atlanta and help you to know the local theaters.” In her most recent role, Olivia is serving as assistant director to Long in the upcoming KSU production of “The Glass Menagerie.”
This summer, Olivia spent a month in Dublin, Ireland at the Gaiety School of Acting with five other theatre and performance studies majors. “I always wondered why people wanted to leave where they were from, but after falling in love with Ireland, I realized that I could be just as happy in another place, opening up a totally new way of thinking,” she says. In addition to giving her a new worldview, the program also prepared her to learn lines quickly and to trust her gut instinct as she acts.
Olivia’s presence is not limited to the stage, but extends into the KSU campus and surrounding community. “Olivia not only excels in the world of theatre and performance studies, she is also very active in the community through her sorority. She does not just see herself as a performer, but as a part of changing and healing the world,” says Long. Olivia serves as vice president of academic affairs for her sorority and feels that her theatre background brings her unique energy and excitement to her work with the organization.
After graduating from KSU, Olivia would like to pursue her master of fine arts degree in Ireland and eventually teach at the college level. Her two loves of Shakespeare and children’s theatre drive her ultimate dream of opening a not-for-profit organization or acting troupe that brings Shakespeare to a children’s level. “It would be a great way to introduce children to literature at a young age in a way that they can understand,” she says.
As Olivia looks beyond her experiences at KSU, to the spotlight she will fill on and off the stage, it is surely her high energy and passion for theatre that will carry her there.