The annual trip to Memorial's campus in England is a real eye opener for students in Grenfell's Technical Theatre Production (TTP) stream.
"When our students enter the large production houses in London's West End, their reaction is, 'Wow – all these things we've been learning translate into something big," said Prof. Renate Pohl, a faculty member in the TTP stream of the BFA (theatre) program.
In their fourth year, acting and TTP students stay at Harlow Campus for an eight-week period. The campus is just outside London, which makes it convenient to travel into the city to see shows, galleries and museums.
"We like for them to experience a cross-pollination of things," said Prof. Pohl. "Everything from classic theatre, dance and opera to mime, circus performances and installations."
The students must attend performances and write critiques of various elements of the productions: actors' performances, lighting and sound design, set design, costumes and more.
But Prof. Pohl says there's an important research element to the intensive as well, including trips to museums and galleries. But the places they visit don't necessarily have a theatre focus.
"We might go to a science museum to research materials, styles or techniques for props," she said. "Or we might look at historical artifacts so our designs mesh with the time period or theme of a production. A large part of being a designer is that exposure – to tangibly do that research in person rather than getting the information from a book or online."
Ultimately, the trip to the UK is about students observing the skills they are learning at Grenfell in the context of the professional world of theatre.
"Everything they do, we do here – costumes, painting techniques, designs, model construction," she said.
The Harlow trip also includes excursions to places such as Stonehenge and Stratford-upon-Avon, where they have the opportunity to see where Shakespeare lived and worked.
Students interested in applying to the TTP stream should check out the theatre program website.
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