Students Take Shakespeare from Staunton to Abu Dhabi

February 21, 2018

Undergraduate students in MBU’s theatre and Shakespeare programs are opening a door to the world in April.

A group from Mary Baldwin has been invited to participate and perform in the Global Shakespeare Student Festival, running April 5–9 at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

“When I began my acting journey at Mary Baldwin four years ago, I never could have imagined it would culminate in a trip to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Global Shakespeare Festival,” said senior Layla Teears. “I am so pleased to be part of an institution that values the arts and invests in the growth of their students, and I cannot wait to represent to the rest of the world what an investment in the hearts and minds of young theatre-makers can do.”

Making the 20-hour trip for MBU’s team Shakespeare are Teears and fellow senior Lissa Fulton (both are performing arts majors concentrating in theatre) and freshmen Gil Mitchell and Keith Taylor (members of the Shakespeare and Performing Arts living-learning community).

“It is an exhilarating opportunity that our group of MBU students and faculty have been given to immerse ourselves in the culture of Abu Dhabi, and the melting pot of ideas and experiences that the Global Shakespeare Festival promises to offer,” Fulton said. “I hope to cherish every moment of time spent in this unique city, and can only imagine what a wealth of knowledge I will gain and be able to share with my community back home.”

Kim Greenawalt, an MFA student with Shakespeare and Performance; Director of Shakespeare and Performance Paul Menzer; and Assistant Professor of Theatre Kerry Cooke are also traveling to Abu Dhabi.

“The opportunity to participate in the Global Shakespeare Festival in Abu Dhabi with a group that includes MBU faculty and students is incredible — potentially once in a lifetime,” Cooke said. “The chance to travel to this part of the world is exciting in and of itself; all the more thrilling is that we have been encouraged, through performance, to consider not just Shakespeare’s but also Mary Baldwin theatre’s value and place beyond our American borders. It’s surreal, really.”

Other faculty/student teams attending the festival are from Cairo University, Ashoka University in India, and NYUAD, plus faculty members from other universities around the world. Each student team brings a 10-minute performance to share, inspired by the festival theme, and faculty members will lead a student workshop or public event.

The NYUAD literature and theatre programs co-organize the festival, which features master classes, troupe workshops, roundtable discussions, and special theatre performances. MBU is assisting with students’ airfare costs, and NYUAD provides food, campus housing, and local transportation for all faculty and students.