The list of alumni of the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, reads like a who's who of American and British acting talent, and this summer, UMass students are thrilled to be joining their illustrious ranks.
This spring, a group of students successfully auditioned for acceptance to BADA's summer program, and all are thrilled to have this unique opportunity to study acting and Shakespeare among a truly talented peer group with some of the most renowned theater artists in the English language. They are excited and they are motivated, and they have been working hard to come up with the funds they'll need to go on this trip—but they'll need a little help to make it all the way to England.
Your contribution will help them get there, and it will benefit not only this powerhouse group of actors, but the Department of Theater as a whole. Acting is a collaborative art, and the skills and training they'll receive this summer will make their way into the classes and productions they participate in here.
Several years ago, alumnus Stephen Driscoll '73 attended the BADA summer program in preparation for fulfilling a long-time dream of acting in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, a complicated, mesmerizing play that has fascinated him since he was a teen.
This fall, his alma mater made that dream a reality when the UMass Department of Theater invited him to play Shylock in our production of the play. Over the course of the rehearsal process, the actors in the production formed a tight bond with each other and with Stephen. Inspired by their friendship and impressed with their talent, Stephen encouraged them to think about BADA and went so far as to announce a scholarship to help fund one UMass student's attendance there.
One lucky student, senior Marielle O'Malley, received Stephen's scholarship, and John McPhee, Alex Salazar Greenstein and Slava Tchoul, were also accepted. We'd like the other members of this deserving group to go as well to represent UMass and the Department of Theater. This is a valuable opportunity for them to build their own careers as theater artists. They'll also represent the Department of Theater as they begin to build a network that will help their future careers, as well as those of the UMass students who attend the BADA program in years to come.
They're not sitting by idly waiting for a hand-out — each student has already gathered some of the funds they'll need to attend. We'd like their attendance to be based on talent and ability, but let's face it, international travel is expensive.
Please support this talented group of theater students achieve thir best — and help us raise the level of our performances along the way.
As noted on the organization’s website, BADA was founded in 1984 to enable students from around the world to study classical theater with leading actors and directors of the British stage. Alumni of BADA programs include Lord of the Rings actor Orlando Bloom, Anna Gunn of Breaking Bad, and Chadwick Boseman of Get on Up. The organization offers a number of programs, including Midsummer in Oxford, a month-long intensive conservatory program for students over 18 based at Magdalen College in Oxford. It's this summer program that our students are planning to attend.
You can learn more about the program at BADA's website: http://www.badaonline.com/
You can learn more about the Department of Theater at our website: http://www.umass.edu/theater/
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