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Linda Tardif ’11 on her decision to come to the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Hi everyone,

My name is Linda Tardif and I graduated from UMass in 2011. When I was a senior in high school I had my heart set on going to a conservatory because I thought conservatory training was the only training. I went through audition processes (the most painful thing ever!) and didn't end up getting in anywhere.

I just wanted to let you know that coming to UMass was a total and complete accidental blessing for me. I've had amazing opportunities here in my last three years, including interning with local professional theaters and touring a show to Europe. This summer, the theater department's adaptation of Spring Awakening will tour to New York City! I've also been able to explore other aspects of theater because the program here is not as narrow as a typical BFA program. The five college area has so much to offer an aspiring artist and I couldn't be any happier that I came here.


Linda Tardif '11

Linda was a theater major and a member of the Undergraduate Advisory Council. She acted in Pericles, Spring Awakening: Sin of Omission and independent productions in our department. She traveled to Serbia to perform in Milosevic at the Hague at the JoakimInterFest, and appeared in Spring Awakening: Sin of Omission at New York City's Looking Glass Theatre. She is the managing director of the Shea Theater in Turners Falls and an actor who has appeared in Pioneer Valley-area productions with Paintbox Theatre, Real Live Theatre, and Silverthorne Theater.

Undergraduate transfer student Abuzar Farrukh was a 2017 recipient of the Ed Golden Acting Scholarship. He wrote the following thank you letter to the creators of the scholarship.

I would like to introduce myself as the recipient of the Ed Golden Acting Scholarship and to thank you for making it possible for me to receive this amazing award. I never thought in my wildest dream that I will be receiving such an award and now that I have, I feel extremely honored and grateful.

I am a Theater Major here at UMass and I transferred from Holyoke Community College this fall semester. I moved to the United States 3 years ago from Pakistan where I did some theater, though once I moved here, I did not do anything related to theater for 2 years. It was a tough time for me. I was settling in with my family and something in me told me that just because I did theater back home does not mean I can do it here. This is a different country, with a completely different culture, people and environment. I am so very different from everyone here. I speak a different language, I look different, I think different and because of all these doubts I stayed away from doing theater.

All that changed when I transferred to UMass and selected Theater as my major. I was still filled with doubt and my initial few months were very challenging. But gradually it started to feel more like home. I regret not doing any theater for those 2 years, but at the same time those 2 years made me realize that this is exactly what I need to do and therefore I decided to take the risk and pursue acting. I hope to make the most of my time here in UMass. This year has been an amazing experience for me. I have met some amazing people here, have had the chance to work with incredible directors and learn from great professors, who are always there to help and advice. This all would not have been possible without all their support and love.

Being awarded this scholarship has given me the encouragement and hope that I can do something here in the United States. Not only has it lightened the financial burden but it has also provided enormous encouragement for me and my family. My parents’ main reason to move to the United States was to ensure that I get the best education and that I become whatever I want to become. Not many Pakistanis decide to pursue this career. But luckily I have always had the love and support of my family and they have always wanted me to follow my passion. Therefore this award means so much to them and I cannot explain the happiness they felt upon knowing that I received this award. Therefore, thank you for giving us this moment of joy and happiness.

 I am extremely thankful for your generosity and support. This award has motivated me to keep doing what I am doing and to be even more ferocious about it! It has reminded me that I made the right choice by pursuing theater and that this is where I belong. Thank you for providing this award and for supporting performers like myself.


Abuzar Farrukh

Abuzar Farrukh is a current theater student and a recipient of the Ed Golden Acting Award. He has appeared in The Misanthrope and The Happiest Song Plays Last in the department.