This summer, the emerald coast will meet the emerald isle as ten theatre students from the University of West Florida travel to Ireland to participate in the Carlow Arts Festival and collaborate with Carlow Little Theatre as part of the University's program, "The Irish Experience."
From May 28 through June 22, the students will present a production of two John McClure One-Acts, Laundry & Bourbon and Lone Star, in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow, Ireland. Students will also participate in the Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas Festival and The History of Ireland Festival.
“This trip is the chance of a lifetime,” said UWF sophomore Hope Golds. “Not only has it been a dream of mine to act, but another is to travel to Ireland and learn the culture. Coming from a small community and a small family, I was never afforded the chance to travel and grow in my art until this opportunity through the UWF Theatre program. I am so thankful and excited to represent this country, Pensacola and the University of West Florida.”
During the trip, the students will also engage in various workshops. The featured workshop will provide the opportunity for the students to work with actor and director Paddy Behan, former President of Carlow Little Theatre, in preparation for the Irish play Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. The group will have the opportunity to view the sights and sounds of the play first-hand, discuss the themes of the show with the people and see into the world from their perspective.
This September, Behan will travel to UWF to direct the play at the UWF Center for Fine & Performing Arts.
Howard Reddy, a professor in the UWF Theatre and Music Departments and an Irish native, serves as the program coordinator. Reddy has provided numerous connections for the group while aligning the department with the Carlow Arts Festival and Carlow Little Theatre.
“I love to share the vision of President Bense, that here at UWF we are ‘in the business of transforming lives’,” Reddy said. “In this inaugural year, The Irish Experience provides a transformational experience for our theatre students, to perform and undertake internships at an international arts festival and to experience the rich and diverse history and culture of Ireland. We will add a new international footprint for UWF, with exciting opportunities to expand the program to include additional departments in the future. Additionally the opportunity to create a strong link between UWF, our region, and my homeland, is very rewarding.”
The Irish Experience is an international student program, which in its inaugural year, is open to students in the UWF Department of Theatre. The program highlights a collaborative partnership with the Carlow Arts Festival in Carlow, Ireland.
For additional information on the UWF Department of Theatre, visit uwf.edu/theatre and to learn more about the Carlow Arts Festival, visit www.carlowartsfestival.com.