Alum spotlight: L.A. Adams (BFA ’77) Technical Theatre & Design

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Not many TheatreVCU grads can say they entered the Peace Corps, but the experience led L.A. on her career path. She’s currently the Director of International Students and Study Abroad at Manhattanville College in New York. She’s an advocate and support system for college students from other countries, as well as students who want to go abroad for a semester, and she’s been at it for over twenty years!

LA's VCU id

L.A. studied technical theatre and design at VCU and worked theatre tech gigs after graduation. During her Richmond time, she worked at the Virginia Museum Theatre (the old equity theatre housed in the VMFA, known later as TheatreVirginia). Then she worked at theaters around the country including Oregon Shakespeare, Brunswick Music Festival, and theme parks Carowinds and King’s Dominion. “I ended up in costumes because I could sew since I could walk, and all the shops were unionized except for costumes.”


“Out of the blue” she decided to join the Peace Corps and spent time in Thailand.

LA with her host family in Thailand

Twenty years after graduating, she returned to grad school at the School for International Training in Vermont. “I had a skill set I didn’t know I had. A slew of foreign students came through, and I realized that I have an ear for accents and can understand people.” Adams earned a master’s degree in International, Intercultural Management.

About VCU’s influence, “Talk about experiential! It was an incredibly practical program. Even though I’m no longer in theatre, it was a great preparation for teamwork and collaborative goal setting.”

L.A. addresses how COVID has affected her program, “It’s been a nightmare! We were in middle of Spring Break. Suddenly, we had to find where all the students were and figure out how to get them home. I still have one guy living in Lebanon since March. This year I have the smallest class ever. My student numbers have gone down every year since Trump has been in office.” L.A. is planning to retire at the end of this school year.

L.A.’s email:

L A with alums

Compiled by Liz Hopper (Emeritus Faculty) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the August 2020 Theatre Alumni Newsletter