Former Troy University student Psacoya Guinn was recently hired as an education apprentice at the esteemed New York Children’s Theater.
Guinn, who is from McCalla, graduated from Troy with a bachelor’s degree in theater.
She said she was drawn to Troy because of its theater education program.
“At that time, their program was going through some really positive changes that I wanted to be a part of,” Guinn said.
“It had its ups and downs, like any program,” Guinn said when asked about her time studying at Troy. “But the most positive thing was that it prepared me for the actual business of acting.
“It taught me to work hard even when things seem unfair—it taught me a great work ethic.”
She also said that things would have been much easier for her as a student actor if she had gone to another university that offered her a larger scholarship.
However, she said, “not being the lead in every show taught me to work hard even when you think you’re being overlooked.”
Tori Lee Averett, assistant professor of theater education and performance, remembers her former student well.
“Psacoya was bright, curious and had a great sense of humor,” Averett said. “She was a dedicated student who was interested in taking advantage of the many opportunities she had while at Troy.
“She was always a joy to be around, a hard worker and an all-around good and positive person.”
Guinn said developing an excellent work ethic has contributed incredibly to her success. Guinn emphasizes the importance of working when no one watches, never expecting things to come easily and never expecting compliments.
“She’s extremely friendly and hard-working,” said fellow theater major Vincent Rosec, a senior from Saint-Lo, France. “She’s also very helpful. If you need her help, she’s going to be there to help you.
“She’s a very talented actress altogether.”
One of Guinn’s fondest memories here was her last lead role at Troy University, starring as Evelyn in “The Shape of Things.”
“It was really different than anything I’ve played before,” Guinn recalled. “I was the villain.
“One of the biggest things was that it taught me empathy and not to judge people solely based on their actions.”
Quinton Cockrell, assistant professor of performance, remembers the play fondly, as well.
“There was a scene in it with her sitting on a bed with her boyfriend,” Cockrell said. “It still sits in my head, the level of artistry. I can’t really explain it.
“I directed a play called ‘Home,’ ” Cockrell said. “She had to play multiple characters, and the way she sort of threw herself into each one of those was really interesting.”
Guinn graduated in May 2014 and moved to New York the following October, where she began auditioning for various roles.
Her first role was with Queens Shakespeare Inc. in the play “The Bacchae,” written by Euripides. She also starred in a music video for up-and-coming pop and soul artist Elisabeth Lopez’s song “Monsters.”
“The hardest part (about this business) was finding a job,” Guinn said. “I still have a heart to teach, even though I dropped my education minor.
“On paper, I honestly don’t know why I got this job. I took a leap of faith and thought ‘why not?’ ”
While she is enthusiastic about her position at the Children’s Theater, she is also ambitious in her plans for the future.
“New York is a seed I’m planting in my career, but it’s not where I ultimately aspire to be,” Guinn said. “I see myself traveling across the country and perhaps even the world doing regional theater.
“I also see myself owning a performing arts studio, which would mostly be for acting, but also singing and dancing.”
Cockrell shared some direction for students looking to pursue a career in the field of the performing arts: “Don’t be afraid. Other people have done it. Why can’t you? Is it easy? No, but few things worth having are. Be brave, be bold and try to remain a starving artist.”