Frances Garnett

Liberal Arts Honors/Theater and Dance/International Relations

This year, I’ve finally found the path to balance the training of my mind, body, and heart through my new double-major: Theatre and Dance and International Relations and Global Studies. Theatre keeps me grounded in my feelings and instincts, allowing me to better know myself, while IRG poses intellectual conundrums that expand my mind and catalyzes me to explore my curiosities.

As a new theater major, I worked on five different plays. I served as the dramaturg for my friend Elise Petersen’s “The Red Tent Club”, which advocated for comprehensive sex ed in high schools. I served on the Advisory Committee for the Cohen New Works Festival, which brought me in contact with esteemed theater professionals and guest artists and allowed me to appreciate the amazing work that my peers created. Outside of theater work, I got my writing published twice! One piece was an interview of musician Japanese Wallpaper for Afterglow (an online music publication co-founded by Selome!), and the other a short story for the Echo Literary Magazine. I also served as the communication director for Aspire Scholar Database, and as an event planner for Afterglow.

Through my classes on Southeast Asian government and politics and the Vietnam wars, I began intellectually reconnecting with the region where I grew up. In January, I returned to Bangkok with my sister and Grace, a my fellow Dedman, and, for the first time in five years, revisited old landmarks and friends that I’ve been missing ever since I left. Just being there grounded me, and I left knowing that I would be back, and that my relationship with Thailand is still evolving. In the Spring, I channeled my feelings and memories into “A Place Called the Middle”, a new play by MFA playwriting student I-Chia Chiu that I acted in. This play was one of the most touching I’ve ever done, and I’m so grateful to have been able to tell a story about homesickness, memory, and evolving identity that I didn’t even know I was dying to tell. I realized that this is the kind of theater I want to make and going forward I want to explore through theater a term I learned in my IRG class: cultural hybridization, and the people who experience it growing up.

This summer, I’m currently interning at the Dallas Theater Center in their SummerStage educational program, where I get to flex my teaching muscles for the first time. As another first, I’m music and co-directing my first musical with a friend of mine for the summer season of his summer repertory company. In July, I’ll start a three week French intensive to prepare me to study abroad in the Spring, so I can finally become fluent in a language I’ve been studying for almost a decade.

None of this would be possible without the Dedman family. This program has completely changed the way I view college and gives me the chance to explore everything I could ever want and more. I’m so grateful that they added a sophomore cohort, and to all my fellow Dedmans who inspire and intrigue me every day.