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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

End of Semester Honors for Undergraduate & Graduate Theatre Students

Several theatre students have ended the Spring 2017 semester with outstanding accomplishments.

Graduate Student Chosen for Civic Scholars Program

Jordan Beck, a second-year Master of Arts in Teaching candidate, has been accepted into the 2017-2018 Graduate Civic Scholars Program, a professional development opportunity sponsored by the UofSC Graduate School.  Beck is among a cohort of twelve students from across the Graduate School selected for the program, which provides guidance and support for each participant to create initiatives that serve the public good.  He is the first student from an arts-related discipline to have been chosen.

Beck says the initial goal of his proposed project is to encourage civic engagement among high school students through theatre pedagogy, or, in his words, “how to get kids to think of themselves as citizens.”  He says he is eager to see how participating in the GCSP will shape and refine the project.

“I don’t know what it looks like yet,” he says, “but I’m really excited to see what it turns into.  And, I’m super excited that it’s going to be an interdisciplinary cohort because I can’t even imagine the difference between thinking about my work through my applied theatre lens and through the lens of someone who is studying to be an actual social worker.   It’s going to be drastically different.”

Beck will have many chances to put his research and plans into action.  MAT students spend much of their second year as student teachers in public schools, with two six-week placements in the fall semester, and a semester-long assignment in the spring semester.  

Senior Theatre Major Receives Honors at Discover USC

Brooke Smith, a senior theatre and political science major, received second place honors at the recent Discover USC showcase, held April 21 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.  Discover USC brings together "undergraduate and graduate student, postdosctoral and medical scholar innovation and scholarship into a single full-day extravaganza."

Smith's presentation, Women May Fall: A Study of Shakespeare's Female Characters Through Rhetoric and Performance, involved a comprehensive analysis of female character types in Shakespeare's canon.  As stated in Smith's synposis:

As part of my Honors College Thesis and as my last performance project at the University of South Carolina, I chose to research Shakespeare's women, including historical connotations and character types, as well as the rhetoric surrounding them. This lead me to choose six Shakespearean plays, three tragedies/histories and three comedies, that match up with each other in terms of female characters and the types they embody. Through these three pairings, I conducted three workshop sessions working with female actors from the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance in order to determine and examine the importance of the use of rhetoric when performing Shakespeare, as well as experiment with the dynamic of women taking on several roles as Shakespeare's female characters in order to find the similarities and differences between them. 

Associate Professor Sarah Barker served as faculty advisor for the project.

Also at Discover USC

Several other Theatre and Dance students also presented research at Discover USC, including:

McKenzie Dirr, Senior Dance Performance and Biological Sciences Major
Methodology and Benefits of Dance and Movement Therapy for Individuals with Disabilities
Faculty Advisor: Cindy Flach

"As a way to integrate dance training and service, I researched dance as a form of movement therapy for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, I conducted a research project in which I created a training curriculum for adults with a spectrum disabilities in the art of dance. I utilized appropriate teaching methodologies and created dance syllabi that I taught at a local center for adults with disabilities. The main goal of my project was to create a curriculum that improved the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of disabled individuals while also providing an avenue for communication and inclusion within the community."

Carrie Chalfant, Senior Theatre Major
From Pen to Performance: Little Fishmaid
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Brookshire

"Before beginning my creative project, which was directing and producing an original children’s play called Little Fishmaid, I had already begun to diversify my experiences in theatre from primarily acting to crewing, set design, costuming, lighting, and more. Little Fishmaid renewed my familiarity with these fields and also allowed me the experiences of directing, producing, and playwriting. With the production, I wanted to explore topics such as feminism and the environment, try my hand at creating a comedy that would be family-friendly, practice leadership skills that I had obtained thus far in my activities at USC, understand how the many pieces of theatre work together while experimenting with a low-to-no budget production, and generally gain experience in new areas of theatre."


Carrie Chalfant, Senior Theatre Major
Getting Civically Engaged for Theatrical Reasons
Faculty Advisors: Alex Blauvelt, David Britt, Theresa Harrison

"Performing theatre majors currently in shows are in the theatre around 20-28 hours per week. Despite the time commitment, I genuinely love acting, and lately directing and writing too. But for much of my college career, I'’ve usually put my shows aside to learn some important skills in my extracurriculars...In this presentation, I will briefly discuss some of my core experiences from Graduation with Leadership Distinction. Then you'’ll see a scene from my most recent production, performed by two high school aged actors.'


Ashley Graham, Senior Theatre Major
William Quant, Senior Theatre Major
Haley Sprankle, Junior Theatre Major
Samuel Edelson, Sophomore Theatre Major
Jacob Lyerly, Music Major
Voiceovers for Channel Islands National Park
Faculty Advisors: Jeff Francis, Sara Schwebel, Erica Tobolski

"This team of USC Theatre and Music students created voiceovers for a National Park Service website focused on the children’s book Island of the Blue Dolphins as well as the historical figure upon whom the book is based. We researched the book, website, and short essays written by researchers on topics related to the science and history presented in the children’s book. We then decided which of the researchers’ essays would be recorded by each actor for the website. As part of the rehearsal process, we made choices about the performance delivery based on the intended audience: school children with learning disabilities and people of all ages with visual impairments."


Hunter Robinson, Senior Theatre Major
Communication in Production Meetings
Faculty Advisor: Ashley Martin

"While on spring break I will be attending the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and plan on partaking in many different workshops as well as a design competition about stage management and leadership in the theatre.  As a senior stage manager, it is exciting to hear from professionals and make the connection between my classroom work and what happens in professional theatres. The independent study I am currently working on is communication in production meetings... I conducted interviews with five different people, from professional stage manager to leadership professors. It was important to me to hear from many different people on how they thought meetings worked the best."