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Viola Davis could draw biggest crowd since Bill Nye

It took six minutes for the 1,600 tickets allotted to students for the Viola Davis lecture on Tuesday night to sell out. Once organizers moved it from the Marshall Student Center ballroom to the Sun Dome to accommodate more students, those tickets didn’t last long either.

After the initial allotment sold out, the Center for Student Involvement, which runs the University Lecture Series, moved the location and opened up an additional 1,300 seats for students. The event has a policy to allocate 80 percent of the tickets to students.

The half-house setup in the Sun Dome holds approximately 3,500 attendees.

This surge of student interest was unexpected for Event Coordinator Marion Huntley, who said she talked to Davis’ agent to make sure they were projecting correctly.

“We did not anticipate this, we were pleasantly surprised,” Huntley said. “The numbers she’s been pulling from other institutions has been around 1500-1600.”

Huntley said the reason for the spike in interest could be a result of her recent Oscar win for "Fences," with her popularity at an “all-time high.”

Davis is best known for her roles in Suicide Squad, How To Get Away With Murder and The Help.

She plans to discuss her life as an African-American woman in Hollywood along with her experiences growing up in poverty.

Students who have already obtained a ticket to the sold-out show are expected to show up in line by 7 p.m. Once those students are seated, any available seats will be filled by those without a ticket, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“If we get through all of our registered students … we will open up the doors to as many people as we can,” Huntley said. 

The event, which is set to begin at 8 p.m., is also free for non-students.