Olivia Payson is a driven artist, focusing on sharing smiles and addressing social change with worldwide audiences. Born and raised in Jupiter, Florida, Olivia began dance classes at 2 years old, after bribes of lollipops from her mother, and has been hooked on the performing arts ever since.
Recently, Olivia graduated with distinctions from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Musical Theatre, along with a BA in Political Science. Olivia plans to use her education to create theatrical work that challenges and inspires audiences, in addition to delving into the organizational side of musical theatre. She is committed to improving the accessibility and inclusivity of musical theatre companies through policy change, research, and steadfast perseverance. With endless optimism and enthusiasm, Olivia is beyond excited to embrace and give back to the arts community.
When not on stage or deep into her research, Olivia is a true beach girl and can be found basking anywhere the sun is shining, often with a good book and an even better smoothie. She also has a deep passion for learning about other cultures and hopes to one day travel the world, while starting her own travel blog, of course.
While at the Weitzenhoffer School for Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma, Olivia's experience includes roles such as "Sonya" in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, "Woman #1" In I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and "Nadine" in The Wild Party. Her other work and training is detailed in her resume above.
During her undergraduate education, Olivia's passion for research ignited. She spent years analyzing the BFA degree, along with the ins and outs of the musical theatre community, to learn how to best improve the lives of artists. Her evidence-based research focusing on the restructuring of the BFA degree can be found above.
With a strong sense of morality and a commitment to social justice, Olivia has also explored the field of politics. Over the past few years, Olivia has involved herself in the Student Government Association, diversity-based student organizations, and an internship on Capitol Hill. Her further experience is listed in her academic resume above.
Olivia graduated from the University of Oklahoma as of May, 2023, earning her dual degree in Musical Theatre (BFA) and Political Science (BA), with a 4.0 GPA and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation, she moved to New York, where she is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Art and Public Policy from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Throughout her Master's degree, Olivia will continue to audition and advance her performance dreams. Olivia plans to spend this next chapter of her life combining her love of performing and musical theatre, with her passion for improving the world around her via policy and organizational change.