Student Spotlight of the Week: Vivian Knee

Junior Theatre Arts major and Sweeney Todd cast member Vivian Knee

Junior Theatre Arts major and Sweeney Todd cast member Vivian Knee

Being involved in the Theatre Arts and Dance Department challenges students to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. 

Junior Theatre Arts major Vivian Knee dedicates her time to acting and performing with Sonoma State’s Theatre Arts program and while she spends almost everyday in rehearsals, she would not have it any other way. 

She has always had a passion for the arts. Performing in shows at her local church and community theatres sparked her love for acting.

“I can’t ever see myself not performing,” Knee said. Her inspiration for the arts began with singing, although that was cut short when her tonsils were removed, going from a soprano to an alto range. 

That was a hard transition for her to get used to, but has seen it as a chance to further her acting skills and improve her voice as an alto.

Knee is the eccentric and lively peer we all need in our lives. Her outgoing personality and ability to put a smile on anyone’s face is what makes her stand out, and even what got her her first audition in theatre. 

The Sonoma State Theatre Arts Department has been a really positive space for Knee. She has met people who “challenge her and help her develop as an actor,” which has created an overall valuable experience.

 Knee will be in the upcoming show of “Sweeney Todd,” which will be her third show at Sonoma State. She appears in the chorus in “Sweeney Todd” and is the understudy for the Beggar Woman.

Knee expressed her excitement for the upcoming performances saying, “Come see ‘Sweeney Todd’ Feb. 7-17! Tickets are free for students!”

Before being cast in “Sweeney Todd,” her most recent appearance was in “Twelfth Night” as Olivia, which was her first lead role. “Twelfth Night” had a unique quality with being the first Shakespeare show with a non-traditional cast of 13 women and one non-binary person.

Knee spent her sophomore year as a peer mentor to a Communications class. She said this was a great way for her to meet people outside of her regular realm that she normally would not have the chance to meet. Besides working in the theatre, being a peer mentor was one of her favorite ways to get involved on campus.

In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in acting. “Being in the space of the theatre is something I love so much,” Knee expressed, “I just want to create art.” 

She wants to further her on stage acting, but she would take any opportunity she can get.

Her favorite memory involved with acting was auditioning her freshman year and getting cast right away. She remembers doing a monologue about embarrassing yourself on a first date which got her cast. 

Knee has met all of her best friends within this department who have helped her build self-confidence and “get past her inner critic.” 

Something she would like to share with someone considering the Theatre Arts major would be to “put yourself out there…if you’re not passionate, then you won’t reap reward.” 

She says that it is a small department, it is hard, but it is a great place to be, surrounded by people who will not judge you. She feels so strongly about this department and wants to help spread the word about all its great qualities.