L'Union International des Femmes Architectes (UIFA) and The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) will present Libby Skala’s internationally acclaimed play “LiLiA!” at 4:30 p.m. July 30 at the Lyric Theatre, 135 College Ave. in Blacksburg, as part of the 18th UIFA Congress.

The performance is open to the public, and tickets will be available at the door. General admission is $10, or $5 for students. For additional ticket information, call the Lyric Theatre at 540-951-0604. Directions and parking information are available on the theatre’s website.

The show features actress and playwright Libby Skala. She portrays her grandmother, architect and Oscar-nominated actress Lilia Skala, whose architectural drawings are archived in IAWA’s permanent collection in Special Collections within Virginia Tech’s University Libraries.

Viennese-born Lilia Skala became the first female architect in Austria, a stage star in Max Reinhardt’s theatre, and, finally, a Hitler refugee who worked her way out of a New York zipper factory to an acting career on Broadway and in television and film. She collected a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in “Roseland,” and Emmy nomination for “Eleanor and Franklin,” and, most notably, Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her role as the Mother Superior in “Lilies of the Field.”

Out of this journey emerges the story of a relationship between Lilia Skala and her granddaughter, Libby, in which the grande dame serves as mentor, role model, and, at times, unwitting adversary. Before she died, Lilia asked Libby to write a part for her. Libby began developing the show soon after.

In 2003, Lilia Skala’s architectural drawings were added to the IAWA’s permanent collection in Special Collections and have toured to far-reaching destinations such as Japan and Outer Mongolia. These drawings will be on special display in conjunction with the congress and performance of “LiLiA!”

“We are thrilled to present Libby’s show about her grandmother Lilia Skala here at the IAWA as a part of the 18th UIFA Congress and have looked forward to this moment since we were given Lilia’s drawings by her two sons in 2003. This is a very special moment in casting these wonderful materials and this important history into the future,” said Donna Dunay, G.T. Ward Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture + Design and chair of the IAWA. “Everyone should go see Lilia’s drawings prior to the play. They are just down College Avenue, on display at the University Library in the windows of Special Collections beside the College Avenue entrance.”

Libby Skala wrote and has performed “LiLiA!” to sold-out houses across North America; in London sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum; at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; in Berlin and Dresden, Germany; and in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. It ran off-Broadway produced by Mirror Repertory Company. 

Her second play “A Time to Dance” won Best Solo Performer Award at The London Fringe Theatre Festival. She played Viola in Twelfth Night at St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, appeared in the film “Birth” with Nicole Kidman, and is a graduate of Oberlin College.



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