Theatre program is only one of its kind in nation

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s students in London have said “Cheerio” to their families and are settling into their homey flats, taking jaunts on the Tube, and having a smashing good time.

This fall marks the 21st year of the Saint Mary’s London theatre study abroad program, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in the U.S.

Qualified theatre majors spend one semester abroad through the Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin Theatre Program in London. Under the guidance of Saint Mary’s and British faculty, theatre majors take acting courses and attend performances at London’s West End, Off-West End and Fringe theatres. Dr. Gary Diomandes, professor of theatre and dance, directs the play and leads the program.

What truly sets the Saint Mary’s program apart is the fact that participating students stage a full production in a London theatre each year—believed to be something no other U.S. college or university can boast. This year, theatre students are presenting Richard Nelsons’ American comedy “Some Americans Abroad” at The New Wimbledon Studio Theatre Oct. 14-17.

In this show, a group of American academics with a gaggle of students in tow are in London to refresh themselves at the fountain of English culture and to expose their charges to English theatre at the rate of a play a night. Their personal and professional problems are deployed in a witty and acerbic campus comedy, played out against a background including the National Theatre buffet, Foyles, the Stratford-on-Avon Pizza Hut, Luigi’s, and Westminster Bridge at dawn.

Theatre majors aren’t the only ones who are able to study abroad in London; the experience is available to students from all majors, and courses are offered in global issues, art and culture, British politics, literature, theatre, and business.

Read more about our students’ experiences in London on their blog, smumn-london.blogspot.com.

For more information about study abroad opportunities, go to www.smumn.edu/studyabroad.

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