Campus Life

Theatre students at UWF study internationally

Thirteen theatre students at the University of West Florida (UWF) will study abroad this summer at the International Performing Arts Institute (IPAI) in Germany. The unique opportunity allows them to study and perform with some of the most prestigious names in international theater.

The three-week intensive training program allows students to hone their skills and be seen by top talent scouts from around the world. Students are given the opportunity to explore and strengthen their talents in musical theatre and opera. The students audition with scouts from New York, Boston and cities notable for theatre to qualify for the program.

“This opportunity really gives students a chance to see what they are capable of,” said Charles Houghton, chair of the theatre department at UWF. “It is an amazing and unique opportunity, both culturally and artistically.”

Last year, only two students were able to travel and enroll in the program. This year, the department is sending eight performing students and five technical students. According to Houghton, the theatre program at UWF has grown consistently the past four to five years, but still gives students the one-on-one attention for which the university is known.

“I think this increase really showcases how the department has grown,” said Houghton. “The quality is increasing in pace with the student population.”

By working with IPAI, students can network with the artistic talent responsible for producing world-renowned shows, such as “Wicked,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats.”

After completing the program, students have a strong training background they would not have had otherwise. This background can set them apart from the competitive pack when applying to graduate school and auditioning for roles as professionals.

“The university faculty do a lot for the students, from teaching them and working to hone their skills to giving them the opportunity to express themselves artistically,” said Jerre Brisky, assistant director of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at UWF. “IPAI gives students an international perspective that is so valuable in the competitive world of performing arts.”

IPAI prides itself on being highly selective of performers that it admits, and UWF students continually fit the bill.

“This program really gives students an added depth to their training,” said Houghton. “This improves their work habits and gives them the chance to experience another culture through an artistic lens. UWF students are simultaneously honored and deserving of this outstanding opportunity.”

The theatre program at UWF is exclusively undergraduate, providing opportunities for involvement in department productions and learning the practical information designed to carry students to the next level, whether it is graduate school, the classroom or the professional theatre. For more information, visit