Students rave about Temple Theaters London
The inaugural Temple Theaters London program sent nine students to the U.K. for the 2015 Spring semester. This diverse group of students traveled with faculty members Dan Kern and Nancy Boykin to study the British history, culture, and theater in the capital city. The program was a partnership with American Institute for Foreign Study.
Aside from working with professors and taking classes abroad, two of the nine students (Steve Cormican and Eli Marsh) got to take part in internships in their respective areas of study. Marsh said that during his experience at Southwark Playhouse he would assist in whatever was needed day to day. He did everything from organizing lighting equipment, to painting the rehearsal space, fixing electrical wiring in lights, managing the technical storage room, and being an overall resource for the companies. In this way, both students got hands on experience while living and learning in a new and exciting city.
The Rehearsal Room, Temple Theaters’ blog team, asked four students about their experiences in London. Eli Marsh ('17), Laura Pharo ('16), Tanisha Saintvil ('15), and Peter Loiktis ('17) shared their impressions, offered advice, and described this once in a lifetime opportunity.
RR: What was the most memorable part of your time in London?
Tanisha Sainvil: If I had to choose one significant moment, than I’d choose visiting Shakespeare's Globe Theater. It was by far the best theater I have ever seen. None like you ever seen; outdoors, spacious, and you can't help but feel like anything is possible on that stage.
Eli Marsh: The most valuable part of the experience was to learn what fringe theater is like. My favorite day was the day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. We went to Shakespeare's birthplace, had a delicious three-course meal, and then we saw Much Ado About Nothing by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was some of the best theater I've ever seen. And I felt very connected to the history of our art.
Lauren Pharo: The most memorable part of our time in London was really all of it. There is always something to do there for anyone no matter their interests. My favorite thing overall though was getting to meet new people from different parts of the world.
RR: What was the most challenging part?
Peter Loikits (PL): Most challenging part was making friends from the UK. They are very reserved and somewhat exclusive people. But if you frequent the same pubs enough, you begin to make friends quite easily. Almost any Brit can bond over a nice pint of beer.
Tanisha: The most challenging part of [the experience] was my Acting 3 course. I had to really tackle speech and voice, which are my problem areas. I learned...the importance of breath support and most importantly the value of language and [how to let] it do its job.
Outside of my studies the gloomy weather. You know when it rains you get that “I just want to stay in bed feeling;” so I had to fight against that feeling or I'd miss out on those wonderful experiences.
Lauren: The most challenging part was the time difference when trying to talk to my family and also the difference in the money conversion. Although both are minor.
RR: What advice would you offer someone interested in studying abroad?
Tanisha: DO IT! It's worth every penny. I promise you will never get an opportunity like this.Go away with an open mind and you'll come back transformed. You’re experiencing a different culture--- way of life, try not to judge or fight against it.
Eli: My advice would be to make every day an adventure. You only have so much time in wherever you go, so make the most of everyday; live it up while you can.
Peter: Best advice I could give is to not have any expectations and keep yourself completely free. My best experiences were when I went off course and went with the flow. Also steer clear of tourist attractions. They're cool to go see, but the real adventure is in the underground places you can only find by getting completely lost.
RR: Describe your experience in 3 words.
Eli: Mind the gap (culturally).
Tanisha: Beautiful, scary, worthwhile.
Lauren: Live it up.
Peter: Challenging, exhilarating, home.
RR: Anything else you'd like to add?
Peter: London is such a diverse town that you can find your nitch quite easily. People mind their own business, but are open to meaningful conversation. If you are open to the possibilities, you can accomplish almost anything there.
Also don't wear sweatpants, you will get dirty looks.
Eli: London as a whole had much more of a focus on the art and less on the money as compared to American theater.
We said that living in London was like living in the past, present and future all at the same time. Right under the Parliament building, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey - some the oldest and most important buildings in the country - is a tube station that looks like a spaceship. The whole city is like nothing else I've ever experienced.
Tanisha: As an artist, there is a level of appreciation, inspiration, and lack of comfort needed [to grow]; therefore do not stifle your creativity with the norm. Travel, experience, and incorporate it all in your work.
Lauren: Your time abroad is what you make of it. If you go and only focus on school than yes you'll do good that semester but you also will lose out on a lot of other things that the world has to offer. When you're there, travel as much as you can, I went to Iceland, Budapest and Amsterdam three places I never would have gotten to go to had I not traveled [to London].
And the shows we saw were just absolutely amazing. You can learn so much through their appreciation of art there!