It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for 10 University of South Carolina Upstate theater students.
The students, along with two faculty members, have been invited to travel to London, England, where they will spend eight days participating with the International Youth Arts Festival and performing at the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames.
Upon arrival the group will help to run the International Youth Arts Festival, staff the Rose Theatre and also premiere the company’s original devised theatre piece – “All’s Well That Ends Love’s Labours.”
A sneak preview of the show is set for 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7 in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center Studio Theatre.
It’s an opportunity that extends beyond the walls of the traditional classroom, according to Jimm Cox, director of theater at USC Upstate.
“Students have the opportunity to attend performances by other companies and build friendships and bonds with people from cultures that they might otherwise never have encountered,” Cox said. “All of that experience finds its way back into the classrooms on the campus in Spartanburg and builds valuable resumes for student performers and technicians.”
This is the sixth time that a USC Upstate production has been juried and awarded the opportunity to perform at The Rose Theatre, a 900-seat venue located in the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames modeled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre, situated on London’s Bankside. The Rose produces its own productions all year round with varied repertoire consisting of classical revivals, neglected modern masterpieces, new translations of foreign plays and occasional world premieres. A wide range of distinguished actors have appeared at the Rose including Jane Asher, Peter Bowles, Judi Dench and Timothy West.
“With over 300 performances from around the world, this puts USC Upstate on the world stage,” Cox said. “Every time a program travels back to a home country, a picture of our company and the name of the institution goes there as well.”
The students have been rehearsing since the first of February to perfect a devised theatre piece featuring eight characters from eight different Shakespearen plays as they come together in one place and time to debate the merits of love. The play features original music by USC Upstate student Garrett Gibson.
The company consists of eight actors cast through auditions, two student technicians who were chosen through interview and portfolio presentations, and two faculty members.
The cast includes: Garrett Gibson of Spartanburg, Alastair Mann of Spartanburg, Howie Jordan of Greenville, Brigitte Staggs of Woodruff, Eva Grayson of Liberty, Brooke Mize of Greenville, Brandon Mimnaugh of Boiling Springs, Anthony Gregory of Boiling Springs. Production staff includes Kelly Casteel of Spartanburg, company manager, and Cody Kelien of Summerville, technical director.
For more information, contact Jimm Cox, director of theater, at (864) 503-5697 or jcox @uscupstate.edu.