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‘Romeo & Juliet’ cast to represent U.S. at World Theatre Education Alliance

OCU School of Theatre majors are packing their bags and preparing to take their production of “Romeo & Juliet” to China for the World Theatre Education Alliance (WTEA). The 10-day trip will include stops in Beijing and Guilin.

The cast of an abridged version of "Romeo & Juliet" practices in their
final dress rehearsal before the first show in September.

With 14 member schools representing some of the most celebrated theatre programs around the world, OCU is the first and only North American school in its prestigious assembly. Leading theatre schools from Japan, Korea, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Austria, England, China, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain and Poland are alliance members.

Dean Mark Parker, Associate Dean W. Jerome Stevenson and Head of Performance professor D. Lance Marsh will travel with eight students to participate in the festival. Marsh adapted a 90-minute version of the classic Shakespearean tale especially for the WTEA festival. They'll perform the adaptation three times at two different theaters.

Some OCU alumni who attended the 2019 conference have been sharing words of encouragement and advice to this year’s cast.

“The WTEA festival left an indelible impression on the students (now alumni) that attended in 2019,” Parker said. “The professional and personal relationships forged continue to impact the artistry and artists of OCU which inevitably inspire students throughout the school. It’s unique experiences like this that make theatre training at OCU so special.”

Parker added that in addition to the performance and masterclass opportunities, the festival serves as an excellent networking opportunity for students. The students will see performances and interact with students from a dozen different countries.

“They will create bonds with theatre peers all around the world,” he said. “There is no telling where those connections will lead over the course of their careers.”

This year's trip will include participation in the annual Guilin Festival, a massive international arts festival held over 10 days at venues throughout the tourism city in the Guangxi Zhuang region. The WTEA awards ceremony will be a part of the arts festival opening ceremony.

Marsh said he is excited to add the arts festival to this year's function, as it will provide students with additional perspective with its many different kinds of theater venues. He added that the cross-cultural relationships they'll bond on this trip will serve them well in their careers.

"We reactivated the group chat from the 2019 trip and added our current students. The alumni had so many words of encouragement about their experience. The one thing they wrote over and over was 'this is going to change your life,'" Marsh noted. "A number of cultural barriers and misunderstandings are going to be removed."

Story update: Award winners announced

Lauren Harrison, pictured right, won the Excellence in Acting award and Jordan Smith, left, won Outstanding Performance for their work on OCU’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” at the World Theatre Education Alliance in China.


The WTEA was established to strengthen the mutual learning and exchanges among theatre schools around the world, encourage communication among different cultures, maintain cultural diversity, and to promote the prosperity and development of theatre education.

The WTEA was established in 2015 by five institutes including Central Academy of Drama (China), Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgian State University (Georgia), Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (Germany), Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music (Japan), Department of Theatre of Chuang Ang University (Korea), Kyiv National I.K. Karpenko-Kary University of Theatre, Cinema and Television (Ukraine).

Since its inception, the alliance has been expanded to include the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (Bulgaria), The Aleksande Zelweowicz National Academy of Dramatic Arts (Poland), Russian State Institute of Performance Arts (Russia), Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS, Russia), Institute del Teatre (Spain), Guidhall School of Music and Drama (United Kingdom), The Athens Conservatoire Drama School (Greece), and the OCU School of Theatre (United States).


OCU Theatre students at the 2019 WTEA festival. Photo by Patricia Berning
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