This spring, Travis Hudson ’09, acting, has taken the stage by storm at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Since joining the company in August of 2014, he has had roles in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Now he’s back as Balthasar in Romeo and Juliet.
This success comes as the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Hudson says that as a child in Ocean City, Maryland, he always enjoyed playing pretend, but his love for acting was truly ignited when he joined the theatre program at Stephan Decatur High School. Hudson was introduced to acting by Gwendolyn Lehman, a teacher whose instruction would help propel his love for arts and entertainment.
The theatre department at UMBC would later became a vital component to the development of his talent, he says, through courses that exposed him to practices such as puppetry, magical realism, movement-based theatre, and theatre of the absurd. And perhaps one of the most influential moments for Hudson came when he seized the opportuity to study abroad in Durban, South Africa. He studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal under the direction of Tamar Meskin, Gcina Mhlope, Mervyn McMurty, and Christopher Hurst. He also co-produced and starred in an exceptionally well-reviewed play.
Not only did this experience open Hudson’s eyes to the incredible lifestyles and cultures of South Africa, it also taught him a great deal about theatre. In particular, he recalls a class on character and scene that showed him that an actor can gain just as much from observation as from playing a role. “I may have learned just as much watching and listening to Xeres Mehta [his instructor] work with my peers and their scenes,” he says.
Though Hudson jokingly says he likes “the poverty and instability” that acting provides, in reality, he admits, his love for theatre runs deep.
“Theatre can say things in a way no other art form can. The fact I get to play pretend is just a bonus.”
With that outlook, there is no doubt Hudson will continue to succeed as he follows his dreams.
Tags: Department of Theatre, Durban, Gwendolyn Lehman, Kevin James, Patrick Letterii, Romeo and Juliet, Stephan Decatur High School, The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travis Hudson, Xeres Mehta