Natalie Laboda

B.F.A. in Theatre Studies Candidate

Why did you choose UT Austin for your education?

Interestingly enough, I never thought I would come to UT. My brother is a musical theater major at OU, and I actually thought I wanted to go there (gross!). However, the spring of my senior year, I attended an event at UT for admitted students and actually got to speak with people in the department. What really stood out to me about UT's Department of Theatre and Dane was how much work was put on by the students, and how the department really encouraged collaboration among all of its students. Everyone told me how there was so much opportunity, how you could basically do whatever you want, and I have definitely found that to be true! I also love how warm and welcoming the department is and how you can get all the benefits of going to a large university while still getting the benefit of having professors that know your name and friends that you actually take classes with.

What inspires you?

This sounds cheesy, but I'm inspired by my fellow students' work. There's so much good work happening here all the time and everyone around me is doing incredible things and it makes me want to work hard and be as good as they are.

What is your favorite place to study?

My favorite place to study is La Tazza Fesca on Guadalupe and 37th. And I definitely study a lot, yep, you betcha: I never procrastinate!

Tell us about a favorite experience in class on stage or behind the scenes.

The 2015 Cohen New Works Festival was incredible. People do not understand when I try to explain to them how much I love the festival; I'm basically obsessed. I can't tell you how much that experience changed my view of theatre! I had the opportunity to co-direct a piece called Emanation, which we performed in the Fine Arts Library! And that wasn't even the craziest place that a play was presented. Spending a week with all my fellow artists, supporting each other's work and seeing amazing art was my favorite experience I've had so far. I'm so excited for NWF 2017! The festival is now!

What do you love most about being part of UT Theatre and Dance family?

I love how accepting and creative all the students (graduate and undergraduate) are. Everyone is so welcoming and open to collaboration that there is ample opportunity for student work. I love how you can basically do anything you want here. In my two years in the department, I've already gotten to be an actor, assistant director and dramaturg, and next semester I'm getting to direct my own show as well as be on the executive committee for the Cohen New Works Festival! I'm getting so many great and varied experiences that I don't think I would be able to get anywhere else.

About Natalie

I am a B.F.A. in Theatre Studies major from Keller, Texas who is going to one day run my own theatre company! After graduation I plan to attend graduate school and get my master's degree in either theatre education or arts administration. I absolutely love working with children and I'd love to teach middle school. My dream is to run an educational theatre program for underprivileged students. Some fun facts about me: I have a black belt in karate, I can do a Pikachu impression and I shaved my head this past April as part of the Brave the Shave event!