London teaches students theatre

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Theatre Study Abroad in London

During the summer, students traveled to London for study abroad earning up to six hours of credits. Some places that were visited included Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern Museum and more. 
Courtesy of Shelby Elliott

The art of teaching higher education evolves each semester. The theatre and communication department on campus engages students with unique ways to breathe art and culture while becoming accompanied with life in London during hands on lessons.

According to theatre professor James Winter, he has been the only theatre faculty member who teaches study abroad since 2008. History instructor Craig Saucier taught on the trip during the first few years of it being created. With communication professor Dr. Amber Narro, the London study abroad program was created. 

Winter admits that although trips are always based in London, students are also taken to another major European city for a few days such as: Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and Edinburgh. Outside of London, students visit Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Stonehenge, Bath, Wales, Dover and Canterbury.

During the journey, students stay at a branch of King’s College, a public research university in London. Attractions like The Shard, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Borough Market and the Tate Modern Museum are a 10 to 15 minute walk away from their housing.

“Students get to see productions by some of the greatest theatre companies on the planet, walk in the house Shakespeare was born in, visit Shakespeare’s grave, study with and meet members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Globe Theatre, tour historic Covent Garden, Leicester Square, the active architectural excavation site of The Rose theatre and much, much more,” said Winter.

Elisabeth Odom graduated in May of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies and a concentration in theatre. 

This is Odom’s second trip. She went on theatre and communication study abroad trips in July of 2015 and 2016. Odom admitted that Winter first told her about the trip.

On the recent trip, Odom learned about London’s appreciation for theatre and reaffirmed her love for Shakespeare at sites such as the Globe Theatre.

“I’m a huge Shakespeare nerd so seeing his work in a recreation of his theatre is quite the surreal experience for me,” said Odom. “The culture over there is a lot different too. Back here in the states we don’t treat history and the arts quite like they do. They have a certain respect for both that is quite interesting and embedded in a lot of their culture today.”

Study abroad trips are not all fun, there is learning to be done overseas. Winter and Narro pride themselves on using hands on and practical methods. 

“We’ll have our students do a lot of the book work prior to leaving for London and then they are responsible for on-site researching, participating in master classes and presenting their findings while in London,” said Winter.

According to Odom, professors allow a balance of free time to explore the city of discovery and time for research and instruction.

“Professors try their best to teach based on what you will see and experience while on the trip,” said Odom. 

Winter admitted that the theatre study abroad trip usually takes place during July in London and varies from two to three weeks depending on factors such as enrollment. Students receive up to six credit hours for the trip and the average cost ranges from $3,500 to $4,000. 

Students interested in traveling to London for the study abroad trip will be interviewed by Winter and Narro before completing the registration process. 

“Generally all are welcome, but we do like to see students who are responsible, mature, fun, respectful and enthusiastic,” said Winter. “We pride ourselves on representing our school, state and nation well when traveling internationally. There is no selection process. Any student can register for it. They do have to meet some basic criteria which can be found on the International Initiatives web page at Southeastern.” 

According to Winter, London is the ideal study abroad trip because of its safety, easy navigation, great summer weather and lack of language barrier.

“It is a huge international city where students get to experience cultures from all over the world,” said Winter.

Study abroad trips can be beneficial for any types of students, but especially those enchanted by the world of art and theatre.

“Even if you are not a theatre nerd like me, the experience, culture and history you will see while studying over there is priceless,” said Odom. “A lot of our culture is tied into things that started here or there in back alleys that are hard to find; seeing and connecting the dots is a lot of fun.”