Oct. 4, 2017
For five days this past summer, Sam Meade, a College of Arts and Letters Citizen Scholar and sophomore double majoring in theater and history, attended the Shakespearean Theatre Conference in Stratford, Ontario, and heard lectures on Shakespearean study, watched performances at the Stratford Festival, and even spoke with cast members and directors about what it’s like to work with Shakespeare’s work.
“One day I want to direct theatre and opera, so to go see these performances of Shakespeare, which is my favorite realm of theatre, was such a great learning experience,” Meade said. “It was incredible to see how these actors performed such challenging works.”
The trip was made possible by the Citizen Scholars program, which paid for everything, including all meals, hotel accommodations and tickets to every performance Meade attended.
A scene from the Shakespearean Theatre Conference in Stratford, Ontario.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Meade said. “I was able to just go and experience everything and didn’t have to worry about the financial problems that could come with going to a big theatre conference.”
The Shakespearean Theatre Conference is a joint venture of the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Festival and features talks from leading professors in the study of Shakespeare from around North America.
Meade attended the conference with Sandra Logan, director of the Citizen Scholars Program and associate professor of early modern literature and culture.
“I was talking to Professor Logan in October of last year about our mutual love of Shakespeare, and we continued to talk about Shakespeare for the rest of the year,” Meade said. “In March, she asked if I wanted to go to Stratford and I, of course, said yes. It was absolutely extraordinary.”
In addition to the Citizen Scholars Program, Meade said this experience would not have been possible without the help of Logan.
“At first, I expected that traveling with my professor would be a little intimidating, but it was very enjoyable,” Meade said. “We were outside of the academic context, so we were just able to engage as friends and as colleagues.”
Since the conference, Meade has kept in contact with the directors he met about how to get involved with the Stratford Festival and other theatre conferences.
“The trip this summer has clearly defined what I want to do with my life and how I want to do it,” he said. “It showed me who the people are in my life that can help me achieve my goals and gave me people to talk to that make it a whole lot easier to achieve what is often seen as an impossible feat.”
Reused with permission from the College of Arts and Letters