The Collegian
Sunday, February 25, 2024

International Reflection: UR student studies in London, theater capital of the world

<p>Photo courtesy of Benjamin Cudmore.&nbsp;</p>

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Cudmore. 

Most University of Richmond students who study abroad describe their time abroad as life-changing. This past semester, sophomore Benjamin Cudmore had a memorable time, exploring two countries full of culture: England and Italy. 

Cudmore spent the first half of his summer studying in Perugia, Italy, where he immersed himself in Italian culture and language.

“My mother’s side of the family is Italian,” Cudmore said. “However, because of the hate Italians received in the U.S., they suppressed themselves and consequently lost their roots. I wanted to go to Italy to reconnect with these roots.”

Cudmore further explained how the professors in Perugia were extremely engaging and how he could immerse himself in the course, making several local friends and also learning their languages and cultures, he said.

Cudmore went on to spend the second half of his summer studying acting at the British American Drama Academy, which is a part of Oxford University in England. The program is designed for serious actors over the age of 18 and focuses on British acting techniques with an emphasis on Shakespeare. Actors like Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux and David Schwimmer were enrolled in the same “Midsummer in Oxford” program, according to the BADA website.

Cudmore said being at BADA was like a dream, especially since he got the opportunity to work with many established actors.

“BADA has connections with Yale and USC and is an overall very great and competitive program,” he said. “When I was there, I met people who were on Broadway and in films. I actually met someone who works as an assistant director for Disney. Overall, it was a very diverse group of people and it was an amazing environment.” 

After that, Cudmore spent his Fall 2022 semester in London, studying in a program affiliated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. RADA is one of the oldest and most prestigious drama schools in the U.K., according to the Acting in London website. Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are some of the many notable alumni who went to RADA, according to the RADA website.

“RADA was quite amazing, I often went to the stage doors of a show and waited to talk to the actors there since many of them are RADA alumni,” Cudmore said. “I always asked them for tips and advice for an aspiring actor. Once, I ended up having a 30-minute conversation with one of the actors and got a lot of insights.” 

Cudmore’s time abroad was unforgettable, he said. 

“One word I would use to describe my experience is, hands down, discovery,” Cudmore said. 

Cudmore’s study abroad journey helped him not only discover his roots in Italy, but also himself as an adult and his skills as an actor, he said.

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 “London is the theater capital of the world,” Cudmore said. “For me, as an actor, my experience was as spectacular as a kid walking into a candy store.”

Contact international editor Ahona Anjum at ahona.anjum@richmond.edu

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