The Honors College at the College of Charleston is full of a wide variety of unique students with diverse interests and passions. For Honors students, the Honors College’s interdisciplinary approach encourages them to explore their interests in tangible ways. A group of Honors School of the Arts students perfectly embody this mindset by turning their passion projects in theatre and film into formative learning opportunities.
Script-writing and Film-making
Honors student Peyton Brotzman, a Marketing major and Film Studies minor, recently discovered an avenue to explore her passions by combining classroom material with outside opportunities. This past fall Brotzman submitted her screenplay, “Weight,” to the College of Charleston’s Film Club’s annual screenplay competition.
Brotzman’s screenplay won first place in the competition, and as a result she had the opportunity to work with Honors student and filmmaker Bristol Barnes to produce the 6-minute screenplay. The two entered Weight in the College’s annual Film Festival where the film won second place.
“I get the opportunity to work as the creative director,” explains Brotzman. “alongside the film director, videographer, and film crew to create this idea into a finished product.”
Brotzman is excited for the doors her screenplay has opened for her.
“I’ve also already met so many great people,” explains Brotzman. “And made connections that I will carry with me well past my time here at the College.”
Molly Rumph, meanwhile, has found a way to combine her passion for theater with her Honors coursework. The Theatre major and Studio Art minor is working this semester with professor Janine McCabe, chair of the Theatre department, on her Honors Immersed project.
Honors Immersed is a semester-long independent study that Honors students typically complete during their sophomore or junior year. Students use their Honors Immersed experience as an opportunity to explore experiential learning projects outside of the traditional classroom.
For her project, Rumph is taking an intensive look at the practices and research involved for a costume designer on theatrical productions. For Rumph, who wants to work as a Costume Designer after graduation, this self-guided project is a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at her desired future career.
“I couldn’t be more thankful and excited for the experiences I’ll gain from this project,” explains Rumph.
Honors student Mary Hope Ballou, a Theatre major, was recently involved with a professional production of Rock of Ages in Houston, Texas. Ballou worked with professor Charlie Calvert, instructor of Scenic Design for the department of Theatre and Dance, to do projections design for the show and received professional credit for her work.
Ballou has been designing sets throughout her time at the College. She performed in the professional production of Ruthless! the Musical with the Footlight Players at Queen St. Playhouse last fall, and created projections and scenic designs for the College’s spring production of Swing of the Sea. Last month her work was recognized at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with the Jane Childs Design Technologies and Management Legacy Award.
All of the skills Ballou has cultivated through these experiences culminated in her Honors College Bachelor’s Essay, Digital Storytelling on Stage: An Analysis of Theatrical Projections. The Bachelor’s Essay is the capstone of the Honors academic experience, with students working alongside a faculty member on a high-level research project in the field of their choice.
Brotzman, Barnes, Rumph, and Ballou are great examples of how Honors students can combine their individual passions with an interdisciplinary education to get the most out of their college experience.
Article by Jack Bartlett, an Honors College student and Communications and Economics double-major.