Ten Blinn College students learned there’s no teacher quite like experience on their recent two-week theatre tour across Canada.
Accompanied by Bryan campus Theatre Director Greg Wise, the students packed 11 productions into 16 days. They first attended a production of “The Lion King” at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. Next was a stop in Stratford, Ontario, home of the largest repertory classic theatre in North America, where the group saw four productions, including Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Dale Wasserman’s “Man of La Mancha.”
The group then headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake in southern Ontario to experience four more productions at the Shaw Festival. They concluded their trip in Montreal, Québec, where they attended the TransAmériques Festival, one of the largest performing arts platforms in North America.
“It was a great, intensive, behind-the-scenes look at theatrical life,” Wise said. “The non-traditional classroom is extremely advantageous to any education. There’s no better teacher than experience.”
The students participated in workshops and lecture components throughout the tour, with introductions to the performances led by Wise or artists at the host theatre. Each student received three hours of visual and performing arts credit. Blinn TEAM (Transfer Enrollment at Texas A&M) students co-enrolled at both Blinn and Texas A&M University also earned six credit hours toward Texas A&M’s international and cultural diversity requirement.
At several theatre stops, students connected with actors, voice and dialect coaches and stage designers.
“Being immersed in theatre culture was great,” said first-year student Chelsea Mansker of Waco. “I learned so much in the classroom, but actually getting to go and talk to actors was overwhelmingly amazing.”
This year’s theatre tour marks the hird study abroad trip hosted by Blinn’s division of Visual & Performing Arts. Blinn TEAM students were able to attend and earn credit at both institutions due to a partnership between Visual & Performing Arts Dean Marcelo Bussiki and Blinn TEAM Director Russ Graves.
The tour was funded by the students and an anonymous donation through the Blinn Foundation.
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state.
In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs.
Registration is currently open for Blinn’s Summer II and Fall semesters.