This article previously appeared in the CFA News Blog on Feb. 25, 2020.
Sofia Cassidy ’20, a theatre arts/philosophy double major and aspiring director and production designer, recently produced a play as part of her study abroad program in London. We asked her to share about her exhilarating experience.
The incredible opportunity all started when I studied abroad through Loyola Marymount University’s London Internship Program. I chose the London program in hopes of working at a British theatre and developing my skills as a versatile theatre artist. I was lucky to be placed at Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead – one of the original pub theatres in the United Kingdom, founded and managed by Léonie Scott-Matthews, a recent recipient of the British Empire Medal – an honor bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II for over 50 years of dedication and service to the arts.
Léonie has helped many notable artists develop their own writing in their early days, such as Harold Pinter. She graciously allowed me to direct a one-act play written by the former lead singer of the British band Hawkwind, which she was reviving thirty years after his death. In working with the professional actors, we realized our shared dream to move the play to the West End. After a three-week run at Pentameters with full audiences, I was able to find a West End theatre that would produce our play, Mirror Mirror.
Moving to the West End was not easy. As part of a small team, it required me to take on nearly all technical and artistic roles. In addition to directing, I designed lights, stage managed, production managed, publicized, and contacted over ninety entertainment industry professionals to come see the work my actors and I produced. An experience like this is rare and required me to really think about every aspect of the production from hiring moving vans to making coffee for each performance – and figuring out how to do so the British way! I learned a lot about my abilities and the extent of my determination throughout this process.
I was able to have this experience due to the generosity and financial support of CFA and Dean Alexander, and am so grateful for this opportunity. Knowing that my university supported me professionally made the process more rewarding in the end, and gave me an experience I will always cherish. I never would have seen my potential had LMU not supported me through this process – from start to finish. I am proud to soon call LMU my alma mater.