Musical Theatre Exchanges Students

Emma Selmon, Executive Editor

The second half of the winter semester is always a difficult part of the academic year to get through, but this March, the Conservatory found a way to bring new energy to the campus: from March 4th to March 24th, the Conservatory’s music theater program participated in an exchange with the Danish Academy of Musical Theatre in Fredericia, Denmark.

BW music theater program director Victoria Bussert has been professionally directing music theater productions in Fredericia since 2011; during her time in Denmark this December, the Danish Academy director proposed a student exchange collaboration between the Danish Academy and BW. Bussert, working closely with the Study Abroad Center, managed to put this project together in only a few months.

Two students from each school were involved in the exchange. Junior Dan Hoy and Sophomore Emily Brett travelled to Denmark at the beginning of spring break to study at the Danish Academy for a week and a half; shortly after they returned, 3rd-year Danish students Fie Alberte and Mikal Korsgaard Larsen came to BW. At each school, the visiting students participated in classes, lessons, and workshops, and spent time getting to know one another. Both schools enjoyed the enthusiasm that the visiting students brought to the classroom.

“It was amazing to have Emily and Dan at our school in Denmark because they bring such a different, good energy to our school,” said Alberte.

While BW’s musical theater program has about 64 students and is part of a larger Conservatory and liberal arts school, the Danish Academy has only 24 students, and its three-year program is exclusively devoted to music theater.

The collaborative opportunities that BW has to offer both within and beyond the Conservatory were particularly exciting to the Danish students: “There’s a great creative space here, and endless possibilities of doing things,” said Larsen.

For the BW students, the calmer, more intimate environment of the Danish Academy was a beneficial break from the fast pace of one of the US’s most competitive undergraduate music theater programs.

“The feeling is that it’s much more about the art and the work itself rather than the industry,” said Hoy of the Danish Academy.

Bussert is hoping to continue and expand this project in the future. This collaboration was an educational and enjoyable experience for both music theater programs as a whole, but it was a particularly memorable for the four students who participated in the exchange.

“They have now made friends for life,” said Bussert. “Four weeks ago, none of these people knew each other, and it was really emotional to say goodbye.”