Dramatic Explorations

By Kimberly Nagy, May 29, 2024
How Study Abroad Transformed the Career and Life of Playwright Ronica Reddick ‘02

Ronica Reddick ’02

Ronica Reddick ’02 (photo submitted)

Ronica Reddick ’02, a budding talent in the Ithaca College acting program, embarked on a study abroad semester in London during the autumn of 2001. Her experience overseas served as a catalyst that ignited her independence and instilled what she termed a “quiet confidence” that continues to shape her dynamic career as a TV, film, and stage actor, songwriter, educator, and playwright.

From the moment that Reddick first saw the college’s restored Victorian-era red brick townhouse in Kensington, the Ithaca College London Center (ICLC) felt more like a home than an institution. “It doesn’t feel like an academic building. It’s more like a little home, which is really lovely,” says Reddick. In and out of her exhilarating classes, she visited historical sites, theatres, and museums, and other sites, too—like the Freud Museum and the house Judi Dench was renting. The students were required to keep a journal of their experiences, and Reddick still treasures hers.

A Celebration 50 Years in the Making!

In 1972, the first group of adventurous Ithaca College students traveled to England. Today the Ithaca College London Center—among the longest-standing U.S.-based study abroad programs in London—continues to welcome students for a semester or summer of learning and exploration. Over the years, thousands of Ithaca College students, faculty, and staff have called the IC London Center “home,” while creating a special bond that now spans five decades.

We’re currently counting down the days until the IC London Center’s 50th anniversary reunion celebration, June 28–30, 2024! Along the way, we're chronicling some of our adventurers and trailblazers—students, alumni, and faculty who have found and guided transformation in IC’s signature study abroad program.     

ICLC classes exposed Reddick to new facets of her stagecraft. She fondly recalls practicing the fight scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Stage Combat with instructor Bret Yount. “My classmates and I were throwing each other around the room. It was fun, but we all took it very seriously,” she recalls. Other classes introduced her to different acting styles, leading to a shift in her own approach: “It was the first time I realized that actors in England approached acting in a different way, an outside-in way rather than inside-out.”

Every week, she immersed herself in the theatre, attending at least one or two shows. “I’d never seen so much theatre in my life,” Reddick explains. She saw re-stagings of classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and new plays like Humble Boy, an adaptation of Hamlet: “It gave me a frame of reference because, growing up, my exposure to theatre was more limited. I liked performing, and I knew I wanted to act, but I hadn't seen a ton of theatre,” she notes.

While at ICLC, Reddick expanded her skills beyond acting. She took voice lessons from an opera singer, which opened up other professional opportunities. She recollects: “By the time I graduated college, I was auditioning for musicals. And then, when I was out in the world, I was doing musicals. So that really shifted and impacted my career trajectory in a positive way.”

"See what would happen if you let go a little bit and try to take on the challenge of being an adult in the world in this global context. And just figure out what you can do.”

Ronica Reddick's advice to students considering study abroad

Beyond her academic schedule and weekly theatre outings, Reddick and her friends quickly learned to navigate the city. They would take morning runs through different neighborhoods to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. They explored the pubs in London—where the drinking age was 18—particularly the spot where one of Reddick’s friends worked. She quickly mastered the underground rail system (known as the tube) and the bus system, and also planned international trips with her friends. Most of all, ICLC provided Reddick a chance to be a person, an adult out on her own in another country.

“Later, when I moved to New York, I remember thinking, Oh, I got myself around on the tube in London. I found myself an apartment. I can come to New York. This is not a problem.”

Her advice to students considering study abroad? “Absolutely do it! See what would happen if you let go a little bit and try to take on the challenge of being an adult in the world in this global context. And just figure out what you can do.”