Eighteen students from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film traveled to London this summer to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — studying at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The group, which received funding from the Hixson-Lied Endowment, was accompanied by assistant professor of practice Wesley Broulik. Alejandro Alarcon, a junior performance major from Sutton, Nebraska, was one of the students on the trip.
“There is nothing like experiencing Shakespeare in the atmosphere it was meant to be performed in,” he said. “We had some of the most incredible professors teaching us a bit of everything.”
Grace Debetaz, a junior performance major from Houston, Texas, agreed.
“It was a very engaging and empowering experience to study at Shakespeare’s Globe,” she said. “The staff was incredibly professional and treated us like young professionals, which was refreshing. It felt like a dream come true to be studying somewhere I’ve only read about in books, and everyone we encountered had something valuable to teach us.”
Kami Cooper, a junior performance major from Kerrville, Texas, described the experience as “exhilarating.”
“I’ve wanted to visit the Globe since middle school, and it was much more fun than I could have expected,” Cooper said. “It was a landslide of learning new things and geeking out as a performer.”
She also said it was one of the factors that made her choose to study theater at Nebraska.
“The study abroad program to study at the Globe was one of the reasons I chose to attend (Nebraska),” she said. “Shakespeare is such an important part of an actor’s repertoire, and I know there’s no better place to study it than London.”
Michael Zavodny, a junior performance major from Malcolm, Nebraska, said the history alone was inspiring.
“The Globe Theatre is almost an exact recreation of the original Globe Theatre, built in 1599 and later destroyed by fire,” he said. “Performing and studying there gave you a real glimpse at what life and theatre was like in Shakespeare’s time, and it helped to put Shakespeare, the man, and his work in stronger context. Plus, living and studying in an ancient city like London was so interesting. You’re surrounded by medieval buildings and museums mixed in with modern architecture and modern life, but history is around every corner.”
Debetaz said the class performed in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is an indoor, candlelit theatre, but they also had the chance to stand on the stage of the outdoor Globe Theatre.
“The experience was pretty emotional for me,” she said. “It felt like a milestone in my life to be somewhere that represented both the past and history of my passion, as well as my professional future ahead of me. It’s definitely a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The indoor theatre made me feel similarly. It became our rehearsal space instead of some mythic stage that only the ‘real’ professionals got to perform on. It made me feel like no matter what stage I encounter, I can make it my home.”
Alarcon, along with senior performance majors Karen Richards and Maria Smal, earned Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for the trip. The Gilman is a nationally competitive scholarship awarded three times a year by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.
“Receiving the Gilman Scholarship was such an honor,” Alarcon said. “I am incredibly grateful for programs like this that make it possible for first-generation college students like myself to see things they only ever dreamed of. I never in my life would have imagined myself studying Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre in London, yet here I am with all these incredible tools and memories that have changed my life.”