Her story in her own words:

My name is Joan Milburn and I just completed my sophomore year at Southwestern University! During the spring of 2017 I had the privilege of completing a study abroad semester at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. The experience was so incredibly valuable to me as both an actor and as a student, and I know it would not have been possible without the continual support of Southwestern, the Study Abroad Office, and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. While abroad I got to take over 11 different theatre classes a week ranging from traditional acting and voice classes, to unconventional classes such as mime, clown, and stage combat. The days were rigorous, but thanks to my training in the theatre department at Sarofim I felt well prepared for all my endeavors at the Gaiety. It was really nice to be in such an involved and hands-on program. I had the pleasure of being fully integrated with the school’s full time actor training program, and by the time I left I didn’t feel like just another visiting American… but instead part of an amazing ensemble of actors and theatre makers. Not only did I get to work on my performance training, but I also got to practice writing my own work which I found particularly valuable as playwriting is my second emphasis within my theatre major. The classes I got to take that involved writing and performing my own work reinvigorated my passion for words and bringing original theatre to life on stage. I also had the privilege of acting in a play while in Dublin called “Desdemona: A play about a Handkerchief.” This was both fun and challenging as it was unlike any theatre I had ever done before. It was a farce style comedy inspired by Commedia Del Arte and required a lot of research and technique work. The rehearsal process for this was definitely a period of growth and experimentation for me. One thing I really loved about the program was that it provided me with a comfortable environment to push my own boundaries and work outside of my comfort zone, even though I was thousands of miles away from home. While abroad I learned a lot about myself as a performer and as a person. I learned not to be afraid to fail, and I learned the importance of taking advantage of all the opportunities to learn as much as I can about what I am passionate about. I also left with a better confidence in my art and in myself. I am so excited to be back at Southwestern to share everything I learned and apply it to my studies. I cannot thank the school enough for providing me with the opportunity, as is was truly unique and monumental for me as a student, performer, and theatre lover.

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