The London Connection: USC Upstate Signs Special Agreement With The Rose Theatre

September 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. — Professor Jimm Cox is usually ecstatic when discussing the theatre program at the University of South Carolina Upstate. But his level of enthusiasm has reached insurmountable peaks now that the University has signed a special agreement with the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames, London, England.

“This exclusive agreement is the least likely occurrence that one might ever imagine for an institution of our size,” said Cox. “It is simply unheard of for us.”

The unlikely occurrence is a credit to Cox’s broad vision and persistent determination to continually expand theatre offerings to USC Upstate students. While making plans to visit London, Cox was investigating ways to establish student internships with various theatres. When he learned that Dame Judi Dench was performing at the Rose Theatre, he knew he had found a match for USC Upstate.

“I thought that Dame Judi Dench needed to see me before she died,” quipped Cox. “Plus, this was the perfect opportunity to see her, see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and explore opportunities for internships.”

While in London, Cox had to opportunity to meet with several officials with the Rose Theatre resulting in special agreement that affords USC Upstate students the opportunity to intern at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, which is based on the Rose Theatre in London, an Elizabethan theatre that staged the plays of Christopher Marlowe and early plays by Shakespeare.

Cory Granner, a senior at USC Upstate, submitted an electronic portfolio of his design work to Wayne Parry, production manager at The Rose Theatre in Kingston, and was selected as the first London intern. Granner left for London at the end of July and remained there until start of fall semester classes where he worked with the lighting system and equipment as the Rose Theatre transitioned from its summer to fall production season. Most of Granner’s work involved maintenance and overhaul of the lighting fixtures, lamps and dimming system. He lived in Kingston, which is a borough on the southwestern corner of the city of London. 

“Cory has been a lighting designer for main stage productions at Upstate and was a cast member of The Full Monty,” said Cox. “His time with the Rose Theatre and in London was an extraordinary experience for him.”

Luckily for USC Upstate, not all will be happening on the stages in London. Stephen Unwin, artistic director of The Rose Theatre in Kingston, will be in residence in Spartanburg, the first full week in November to conduct, seminars, workshops and teach classes.  He will be in the Alternative Styles of Acting class and the Voice for the Actor classes for the entire week, which will be open sessions.

For additional information, contact Jimm Cox, chair of the department of fine arts and communications studies at USC Upstate, at (864) 503-5697 or