NORTH SMITHFIELD – Ava Sardinha has a talent for artistic expression – particularly voice acting – and it’s a gift she hopes to use professionally to entertain others.
Sardinha, a North Smithfield High School graduate with the Class of 2020, will make her debut this week in Episode 2 of Slatersville, America’s First Mill Village on Rhode Island PBS.
“This was her first opportunity to do voice work and she did a great job,” said Ava’s mother, Beth Sardinha.
Ava was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, the same year she learned to read.
“I am on the spectrum and learned to speak by copying others,” Ava told NRI NOW.
“I first became interested in voice acting when I was old enough to speak,” she said, noting that she can do thousands of different voices. “I want to be a well-known voice actor.”
Ava said she hopes in the future to do voice work on audio books, video games and cartoons, and her favorite genre is horror-comedy. This week, the young talent conducted her entire interview with NRI NOW in the voice of Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family.
Now 19, Ava is taking private acting and voice lessons to pursue her dream.
It was a friend of Beth’s who suggested the family contact director Christian de Rezendes to see if Ava’s talent could be put to use in his documentary series about the village, now in its first season. The Sardihas sent de Rezendes samples of her work, and he had just the part.
In Episode 2, set to air on Friday, Sept. 23 starting at 8 p.m., Ava reads a news article from 1826, describing a horrific triple murder/suicide that took place at a boarding house where Town Hall now sits.
“I knew Ava could have the perfect sound and delivery for it,” de Rezendes said.
“When I met Ava a couple of years ago, I learned that she had an incredible and rare range of voices for such a young lady,” he added. “I knew I wanted to cast her in the film but I did not immediately have a part for her. I waited until the opportunity arose.”
Ava said she was was grateful for the experience.
“I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to speak in my natural voice,” she said. “I very much enjoyed doing voice work for Christian. It was a great experience for me to talk with someone in the business.”
Ava noted she was comfortable speaking into the microphone for the role, thanks in part to vocal coach Zach Fennet.
“I’m so lucky to be working with such wonderful talented professionals who are so invested in helping me to bring out my best,” she said.
de Rezendes, who has a 9-year-old son on the autism spectrum, said it was important to him to give the aspiring voice actor the opportunity to explore her abilities.
“I’m very happy I finally did,” he said.
“She has an incredible talent with her voice,” said Beth. “She has perfect pitch.”
“Often people on the spectrum have great gifts, and hers is definitely her voice,” Beth added, noting that Ava is also talented with visual arts, music and writing. “Neither my husband or I had any voice or artistic talent.”
“I compose and record music on MixCraft Act recording studio all the time,” said Ava.
“She’s a super talented, wonderful girl,” said Beth.
For the up and coming voice actor, it seems such creative work is something of a calling.
“I feel that I was made to entertain and make people feel better in trying times,” Ava said.
NRI NOW will offer highlights from each weekly episode of Slatersville through the season conclusion on Friday, Oct. 14. Following the live broadcast, episodes are also available from any location on the globe, on demand, here.