After receiving the David C. Evans Outstanding Student Artist Award, Sean Hudock, '07, was chosen to give the University of Richmond's 2007 commencement speech.

 

Name: Sean Hudock, '07
Major: Theatre
Minor: English
Academics: John D. Welsh Scholarship, Department of Theatre
James Hillgartner Scholarship
Omicron Delta Kappa
Activities: 15 productions at the University of Richmond
Performed in "The Chairs" at the International Rainbow Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia
Founded and directed Richmond's Improv Comedy Troupe
University Players, Vice-President

After you were awarded the David C. Evans Outstanding Student Artist Award, you were chosen to give the University of Richmond's 2007 commencement speech. Care to share your words of wisdom?

My main point was that while we spend four years in an academic institution (and an absolutely fantastic one, at that), as liberal artists we have to understand that we are not trained to be merely academics or scholars: we are trained to be open, and receptive (liberal) craftspeople (artists) and as such, we are charged with the risky task of applying all that we have learned and the skills that we have developed through abundant resources at Richmond to engage with and transform our world. It's a big and pretty general charge, I know, but I think that once we see ourselves as artists, craftspeople, on whatever path we choose, we expand the possibilities for putting our incredible Richmond education to productive use.

What's the most interesting production you ever worked on at Richmond?

Most interesting, most challenging: Tegonni: An African Antigone. Working with internationally acclaimed artists from the U.K., Nigeria, and the United States on a production with international and community merit.

Most rewarding: The Tempest. Working as Assistant Stage Manager taught me the value of careful observation as a student and as an artist — we learn by doing, but we need something to "do" before we can create.

How did Richmond's theatre department prepare you for your professional career?

It didn't and that was intentional. The department and the program are not designed to guide students into a profession in the theatre, and that was made very clear to me from the start of my college career. Instead, the department provides an endless and extremely valuable supply of open resources (professional artists from around the world, the faculty) and opportunities (in marketing, fundraising, management, performance) and says to its students: Go! Explore! Take Risks! Fail! And that's how you find your passion.

My education was a very personal process, but I could not have embarked or continued with it if not for the undying support, guidance, and inspiration of every single faculty and staff member in the department and at the Modlin Center for the Arts. When I came to Richmond I said, "I want to be an actor." Way too limiting, too early in life! I quickly found myself in Professor Howson's office learning about marketing plans, taking movement classes and talking about color with Anne Van Gelder, designing posters for Myra Daleng, discussing Shakespeare, theory and acting with Walter Schoen and Dorothy Holland, changing people and places through theatre with Chuck Mike, raising funds with the help of Professor Panoff, working backstage with Reed West. I know that my educational process was a success because today whenever I'm asked, 'What are you going to do with your life' I am very lucky and very proud to say, 'I'm an artist.'"

You're invited to dinner with the playwright for your choice. Who's sitting across the table?

Across from me: Shakespeare. On my right: Chekhov. On my left: Tom Stoppard.

After Richmond, what's next?

I just returned from a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia with theatre department faculty members Walter Schoen, Dorothy Holland, Reed West, former international artist-in-residence Paolo E. Landi (from Italy), and staff member Phil Hayes. With the assistance of an undergraduate research grant, I was able to perform in Ionesco's "The Chairs," one of seven internationally selected performances at the VIII International Rainbow Theatre Festival. The play had debuted at Richmond last November.

In the fall, I will move to New York City to pursue a career in acting.