Sydney Grant is traveling around the world as a professional actress months after her Suffolk graduation, but she returns to the University where her skills were first developed to instruct theater students when she can find the time.
Grant was cast in Kultar’s Mime in July 2015, shortly after she received her bachelor’s degree in theater. The play is set in the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh Delhi pogroms that followed the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and tells the stories of four Sikh children, innocent victims of the violence.
"Thrilling and hectic"
“The production process has been thrilling and hectic and something I never would have anticipated for myself only a year out of college,” said Grant who is part of a company performing in the United States, Canada, Scotland, and England.
In her role as “The Guide,” Grant sets up each scene by providing historical information to the audience.
“You need to have a fiery, driven attitude,” she said. “It’s definitely the most challenging role I’ve ever had.”
Grant and fellow cast members conduct audience talk-back sessions after each performance. This personal interaction with the viewers “has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined,” she said.
Back to theatrical roots
Although she continues to follow a busy acting schedule, Grant has found time to choreograph a dance for Professor Wes Savick’s upcoming play, Doris Day in Belarus. The play is a hilarious, tearful goodbye to the beloved Black Box Theatre, which is moving to another building, and a celebration of the creative life the Black Box has inspired for generations of Theatre Department students.
“Balancing my acting role with helping the students at Suffolk has taken some careful planning, but I’ve been able to work it all out,” said Grant. “With a couple of weeks off before my next tour, I’ve had the opportunity to get to a few rehearsals and teach the dancers what will hopefully be a fun and exciting routine--a combination of Russian folk dance and ’70s disco accompanied by the Beatles’ 1968 hit “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
Growing into an all-around theater person
Grant’s time at Suffolk led to enormous growth as an actress and as an all-around theater person.
“When I first came to Suffolk, I was primarily just a dancer,” she said. “However, by the time I graduated, I was able to confidently call myself an actress, director, and choreographer as well.”
Her most memorable moment as a Suffolk student performer came in fall 2014 when she played the lead character in Burnt Siena, a play about St. Catherine of Siena set in Oklahoma in the 1930s.
“Before then, I had been cast primarily in comedic rolls,” she said. “Playing Siena was the first time I saw myself as a more serious actress, and without that role I doubt I would have had the confidence to audition for the play I’m now touring with.”
Savick looks forward to more success for Grant.
“Sydney is poised, confident and disciplined,” he said. “She has great range as an actress, and she is extremely good at identifying the problem that needs to be solved creatively. She is versatile and her imagination is boundless.”
On the threshold of her young career, Grant loves what she is doing and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.
“Acting is such a wonderful way to live a thousand lives I’d never get to live in real life,” she said. “Being on stage in front of a live audience is exhilarating in so many ways.”