New York State Writers Institute



Octavia Spencer: An interview with Paul Grondahl
Instructions to obtain free tickets for the event

Octavia Spencer The University at Albany invites all members of the general public to attend a free event with Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer of The Help and Hidden Figures.

The event will be held:

8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
SEFCU Arena, UAlbany Uptown Campus

·Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are required for entry. General admission seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

 The interview will be conducted by Paul Grondahl, Director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.


This message is meant for members of the general public. Current UAlbany faculty, staff and students may obtain tickets following the same procedure. A new pool of tickets has been made available to the general public and alumni.

Please note that this is a University event, not a normal Writers Institute event. It’s free and open to the public, but a ticket must be obtained in advance. If you need help with the registration system, please contact University Events at 518-442-5566.  (The Writers Institute will be unable to assist with obtaining tickets).

 You can register in the ticket system now. You can request up to 4 tickets per email address.

 To obtain a ticket, members of the general public must visit the University Tickets webpage.

Non-University audience members:

  • Click “Login” in the purple banner at the top of the page. There is also a “Login” button at the bottom.
  • Next, click the purple button that says “General Public” and follow instructions from there to create a new account profile.
  • You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the Event Information page to select your number of tickets.
  • Please note that these instructions will apply to UAlbany alumni as well as the general public. There is a separate button for currently enrolled students, faculty and staff, which is labelled University at Albany Community.

    If you have further questions, the event tickets phone number is 518-442-5566.


     A veteran character actress and one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents, Octavia Spencer is a familiar fixture on both television and the silver screen.  Her critically acclaimed performance as Minny in DreamWork's feature film The Help won her the 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critic's Award among numerous other accolades.  This past year Octavia received a second Academy Award nomination for her performance as Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures, a movie that tells the true story of several African-American women who provide NASA with critical information needed to launch the program's early successful space missions.

    Among her many other movie credits, Octavia has starred in The ShackGifted, all three installments of the Divergent series, Black or WhiteGet on UpBad Santa 2, and Fruitvaile Station.  She has also had a wide variety of memorable guest starring television roles, including appearances on MomUgly BettyThe Big Bang Theory and CSI.  Ms. Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University.

    The event is sponsored by the Student Association, Division of Student Affairs, Alumni Association, University Auxiliary Services, the NYS Writers Institute, Division of Academic Affairs, UAlbany Programming Board and the Office of University Events.