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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

Summer 2014 Journeys

Undergraduate students of the Department of Theatre and Dance had quite a summer, traversing the world for research, exploration and, of course, a little relaxation! Here are just a few stories from their journeys!

Click here to see enlarged photos from their travels!

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This summer, Oxford, England’s British American Drama Academy (BADA) was host to senior Theatre majors Rebecca Shrom and Jamie Boller.  As a part of the highly intensive conservatory program, both women participated in courses in Shakespeare and Modern Performance, Audition Technique and Movement, as well as master classes with luminaries such as John Barton (Co-Founder, Royal Shakespeare Company), Fiona Shaw (the Harry Potter film series, True Blood, RSC) and Julian Glover (RSC, The Empire Strikes Back, Game of Thrones, Olivier Award winner).

“Our truly inspiring master classes were incredible, but our movement and voice classes especially made a difference to me,” said Shrom. “It was great to have a chance to work on these areas in a completely new and different environment.”

Boller, whose research was funded by both a Magellan Scholarship and the department’s Helen Hayes Undergraduate Theatre Research Scholarship, used the opportunity to conduct research for an upcoming fall workshop on Shakespeare performance.

“This experience gave me new skills and techniques,” said Boller, “as well as the confidence to continue pursuing my passions in life. It reinvigorated my enthusiasm for performance and encouraged me to…work with my friends and faculty to make this year the best it can be.”

Sevilla, the southern Andalucía region of Spain provided Isabelle Hardinge, a senior Dance Performance and Visual Communications dual major with a minor in Spanish, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse herself in traditional Spanish language and culture. Hardinge participated in two courses to complete her Spanish minor, traveled throughout Spain, and took a weekend trip to Morocco during her time abroad. 

“In addition to gaining a strong sense of independence, living in Spain for 5 weeks, where I was surrounded by the beautiful Sevillian architecture, art, language, and people, heightened the passion I have for my two degrees at the University of South Carolina and excited me for my future after graduation.” 


A summer abroad in Amsterdam found Elizabeth Houck, a junior Theatre and Psychology double major with a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, studying two courses on gender and culture in Dutch society through the International Education of Students (IES) Abroad program.  Houck spent her time gathering observations for a later research piece.

“Being abroad pushes on the limits one may have previously set upon themselves or which have been set on them,” said Houck. “Whether it was figuring out public transportation in another language or being forced to question all that I have ever thought I understood about sex and gender in my sociology course, these are experiences that I could never have had here at home.”  


Mary Sigward, senior Dance Performance & Choreography and biology minor, began her busy summer with a trip to Germany and Poland as part of a USC Honors College course, Tracing the Holocaust through Eastern Europe. After her return home, Sigward was off to Colorado to participate in Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet’s summer intensive, followed by a 4-week dance intensive with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

“Both dance intensives pushed me to my extremes,” says Sigward, “forcing me to try things I had never done before, and although it was frightening at times, it facilitated my growth and showed me how much I need to push myself during my senior year in order to achieve my goal of becoming a professional dancer. ” 

Sophomore theatre major Wes Williams spent the majority of his summer performing as a Disney character at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

“This internship did so much for me,” said Williams, “from bringing me close to lifelong friends to working with different people from several countries every day to help make magic for all sorts of guests in the parks.”

Through AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study), Kelsea Woods, senior Theatre major, explored the world of Shakespeare, video production and modern British culture during her summer in London, England. As a scholar with the USC Beyond Boundaries, USC Carolina Global Study and USC Affiliate programs, this opportunity also provided Woods with the platform to conduct research that she plans to apply to her Lab Theatre production of The Trojan Women in February, 2015.  Woods also was able to explore countless museums and galleries, see over 8 plays, including Julius Caesar at The Globe, and attend several performance art instillations, including the interactive piece 512 Hours with Marina Abramovic.

“This whole summer far surpassed any and all of my expectations,” said Woods. “I found myself growing tremendously as a person, a student, and a theatre artist, creating connections and networking with my professors and professionals in a way that will serve me past when I leave London.”


 --Article by Isabelle Hardinge with Kevin Bush