Theater Alumnus Making His Way in L.A.

Posted on 2/14/2017 2:41:48 PM

The acting bug took a hold of Walt Gray IV when he was a kid—and it has never let go.

But it was in his time at IUP that Gray developed a passion and love for the craft, and it’s one he believes wouldn’t have come if it weren’t for his alma mater.

Walt Gray 150px“I would not be in L.A. if it wasn’t for the faculty members who were there for me during my four years at IUP,” said Gray, a 2008 graduate who has been a working actor in Los Angeles for several years. “I would not have the know-how to make it if I did not come to IUP.”

Gray grew up in Indiana, and he was quite familiar with the university because his mother, Anita Henry, was a professor in the French Department. But even if it weren’t for his close knowledge of IUP, Gray said he would have chosen to attend IUP because of its reputable theater and dance program, which has a long history of developing many actors, writers, directors, and dancers over the years.

He said he was intimidated at first when he started taking theater classes in Waller Hall, but he soon found out it was where he belonged.

“Everybody is on a first-name basis,” he said. “It feels like a real community. You are in a bubble. But you can do something extraordinary in that bubble.”

Gray acted in several productions at Waller Hall, and he also directed a few others. He became a member of the close-knit IUP theater community and he thrived with the different challenges he faced every day.

“Waller Hall is a very nurturing environment, but it also challenges you,” he said. “It gave me real-world applications that I use every day.”

While at IUP, Gray took part in the University Resident Theater Association, where students audition for spots in graduate-school theater programs. Through the URTA, Gray was accepted at UCLA and he moved to Los Angeles after finishing his undergraduate degree at IUP.

Gray earned his master’s and stepped right into the working world, winning parts on TV, including the hit HBO drama “The Newsroom.” He also landed jobs doing voice-over work on some other projects, and he recently was hired at Sony Interactive Entertainment America, where he does production work on video games, handling all kinds of duties from suiting up the actors to building the sets and calling the shots for the game being produced.

“I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be,” he said. “This is a dream job I never knew I wanted. It’s so much fun to be a part of the process. It’s an awesome experience.”