Alum spotlight: Mattia Goddard (BFA ’96) and Robert Goddard III (MFA ’95)

collage photos

Mattia (Obradovic) Goddard, BFA ’96 in Performance
Robert Goddard III, MFA ’95 in Performance      

When asked whether it’s Robert or Bob, Mattia explained to her new boyfriend, “My father answered the phone as Bob, so you have to be Robert.” Mattia started her theatre career at her Newport News high school before VCU. Robert actually got two undergrad degrees from Valdosta State University in Georgia: one in theatre and one in speech communications.

a recent family photo

Two of his professors from Valdosta had MFA’s from VCU: Jacquelyn Wheeler (MFA ’90) and Debra Morgan (MFA ’88). Robert recalls, “They had a long conversation and recommended VCU, where I met Dr. James Parker (former Head of Graduate Studies), ‘the rock in the middle of the road which you cannot go around.'”

The American premiere of “Uncle Doggie’s Nirvana” in 1993

Mattia was a freshman the same year Bob was a grad student. He was cast as one of the Spanish brothers in the female version of The Odd Couple. She helped Robert with his Spanish, “I’d practice this Castilian dialect by flirting with Mattia, which is something my character would do. Whatever it was, it worked.”

After she graduated, they moved to New York. Robert’s day job was for Fidelity Investments. He never joined Equity, but worked for various theatres, including Merchant of Venice with Austin Pendelton and The Cherry Orchard with Maureen Garrett. Meanwhile, Mattia was working for Irene Stockton Casting, before moving to Miramax Films (before all the mess). Her primary job was the distribution of material for Academy Award campaigns.

Chekhov in Yalta, Robert with Thom Moore and Paul Sincoff

They left New York AND the industry all together in 2001 right before 9/11. When their son was born, Robert recalls, “I immediately knew that my day job was going to be more important, and I wanted to be present.” They moved to their current home and Robert’s hometown, Valdosta, GA, where he’s a Certified Financial Planner for a full service brokerage firm. Mattia is a victims advocate in the DA’s office, but writes for a local magazine to “still have my hand in creativity.”

Robert and Kelsey Wilson in The Odd Couple

They have no regrets in changing careers. Mattia muses, “I feel like my writing is the strongest part of my creativity. Any time you take the stage or work backstage, it gives us so much skill to handle whatever comes at you.” Robert concurs, “I use my theatre skills every day. You understand what it means to meet a deadline, work under pressure and improvise when necessary.”

Compiled by Liz Hopper (professor emeritus) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the February 2023 Theatre Alumni newsletter