USC Upstate students take to the world stage

June 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

“All the world’s a stage,” says William Shakespeare in “As You Like It,” and for 25 University of South Carolina Upstate theatre students that will ring true this summer as they participate in a study program at Kingston University or perform in the International Youth Arts Festival in London, England.

In addition, students Zoe Sneed and Jake Salgado have the distinction of being chosen for the summer internship program at The Rose Theatre in London and will spend an additional five weeks honing their craft under the tutelage of experienced production experts.

Sneed, the first woman to represent USC Upstate as an intern in this program, will begin her experience in the study program at Kingston, and then take part in the International Youth Arts Festival.

“I am lucky that, so far in my experience, my work has been evaluated on me as an individual, not me as a woman,” she noted. “I’m hoping that will continue and that my work will always speak for itself.”

Sneed and Salgado have the responsibility of selecting the show that will be performed at the International Youth Arts Festival, as well as providing the technical support during rehearsals and performances.

“We decided on “All About Ives,” which is a collection of selected works from David Ives’ “All in the Timing,” said Salgado. “We’re taking four short one-acts (plays) that examine relationships.”

Following the Arts Festival, Sneed and Salgado will begin their five-week internship at The Rose, a 900-seat venue located in the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames. The astonishing circular auditorium is modeled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre.

This unique internship opportunity is the result of an exclusive agreement made between USC Upstate and The Rose Theatre in 2010 and brought about by the vision and determination of Jimm Cox, chair of the fine arts and communications studies and director of theatre at the university.

“No other college or university in the world has such an arrangement with The Rose Theatre,” said Cox. This is a tremendous honor for USC Upstate and for our students.”

Both of this year’s interns will be hands-on with the backstage aspects of theatre production, an element they are already experienced with but excited to be taking to the next level.

“I love working more with the play rather than just performing,” said Sneed. “It allows me to become more invested in the play.”

“I totally agree,” added Salgado. “The most exciting part of working behind the scenes is the intensive level of systematic collaboration and cooperation of the creative and practical.”

“The energizing thing about the behind-the-scenes work, if they (technicians) do it properly, is that it virtually goes unnoticed,” noted Cox. “People (in the audience) are just entranced with the magic of the fact that something has happened because good technicians cause all of those things to disappear into the fabric of the performance.”

Sneed, Salgado and Cox discuss the play they will take to the International Youth Arts Festival, their experiences in stage direction, and the magic of theatre in this video.

The other USC Upstate students participating in the Kingston University study program and International Youth Arts Festival are: Jordyn Chelf, Taylor Smith, Megan Pridemore, Ryan Barry, Halley DiCarlo, Brenda Drinkwater, Fred Drinkwater, Sarah Gantzer, Angela Griffin, Amber Hood, Lily Huey, Carla Hughes, Megan Morris, Savannah Newkirk, Heather Rothrock, Abigail Sossamon, Jordan Alterisio, Laura Lynch, Townsend Reynolds, Sydnie Stroble, Robert Wendover, Chris Smith, and Hayden Bishop.

An added benefit of the exclusive agreement between USC Upstate and The Rose Theatre is that Stephen Unwin, artistic director of The Rose Theatre, comes to Spartanburg in the fall to teach classes. He will be on campus for a week in November and teach Masters Classes with Upstate students.

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