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Drama Teacher Off To England
She always wanted to act rather than direct and sometimes gets a small opportunity to do just that, like playing a pirate in the Rio Arts' Shakespeare in the Park during 2008.

But for an aspiring actor treading the boards of the Globe Theater in England is equivalent to a Catholic gaining an audience with the Pope in the Vatican.

Riverbank High English and drama teacher Stacy Blevins is off to England this month for a two-week study course at the Globe Education Academy for Teachers that will culminate for her with a brief performance on the stage of the famed theater.

"It will be in Romeo and Juliet in a midnight matinee on a Tuesday. I have no idea what part," she said.

Located on the banks of the River Thames, the Globe is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599 where Shakespeare worked and for which he wrote many of his greatest plays.

Today, audiences at the venue either sit in a gallery or stand as groundlings in the yard just as they would have done 400 years ago. The Globe puts on performances through the year while continuing to train actors and teach about Shakespeare.

To attend the Globe course, Blevins won a grant from the Robert Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at the University of California at Davis, where she has been studying and taking her drama students for workshops since November. She was one of only 10 high school and junior high drama teachers selected to attend the London course.

The coaches of the Globe Education Academy, experts in the different fields from voice and movement to production, will be visiting California later this year to observe Blevins' students and prepare them for a performance at the Mondavi Center this fall.

Her course of study at the Globe from July 13 through July 25 will concentrate on the three plays, Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida and As You Like It but range widely over Shakespeare's work.

Blevins caught the plane to Europe early this week so she could spend some time in Paris. She will take another detour to Ireland on the way home. She has tickets to a performance by the band U-2.