Our mission is to give performing artists the opportunity to enhance their artistic craft abroad…Your World, Your Stage.
Performing Arts Abroad (PAA) offers unique and fulfilling international performing arts programs to individuals and groups, enhancing understanding of our diverse world through the transformative arts of theatre, music, dance, and film.
Why do we Exist?
The performing arts are a unique window into culture.
Each society has its own way of telling stories. By going abroad with PAA, you are traveling with intention. You are a storyteller connecting with fellow storytellers. Cross-cultural collaboration will make you a better person and a better artist.
Dispel the myth that you can’t study abroad as a performing arts student.
We create accredited study abroad programs where you can take courses in your discipline. We do curricular mapping to ensure our courses align with most university major requirements. Our academic transcripts are internationally accredited and you can use your financial aid to pay for part or all of your program. We also offer accredited internships for up to 12 academic credits.
We want you to get a job.
We all know that the performing arts is one of the most challenging and cutthroat industries, period. How many times have you heard “what is your backup plan?” or “what will you do with that degree?” We design internships abroad that give you hands-on experience in your field and a line item on your resume that will make you stand out at auditions or in job interviews. Many alums have been hired by their internship placement or through connections made during their internship.
The arts are being cut from schools.
We believe that the arts are essential to childhood development. Our Arts for Social Change programs connect you with local movements around the world fighting to keep arts in the school system. You teach and lead workshops as a guest artist in schools and bring the performing arts into after-school programs, orphanages, day care centers, and more.
The performing arts are a unique tool for addressing critical social issues in marginalized communities.
In condensed urban settlements around the world, people from many backgrounds with different languages and cultural traditions live side by side in shared poverty. Issues like HIV/AIDS, prostitution and child abuse, crime, and drug use must be addressed. Handing out pamphlets? High illiteracy. Giving a speech? Boring and unengaging, and no one shows up. Performance draws crowds and often creates the only space where sensitive issues like sexuality can be discussed freely. It offers the audience a chance to connect to characters and view their behaviors objectively. On our Arts for Social Change programs, join inspiring young people using the arts to change their communities for the better.
The idea for Performing Arts Abroad was conceived in February 2009 by Reynolds Whalen, the organization’s Founder and Executive Director. Reynolds studied Drama and African Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he had several opportunities to travel and study abroad.
In the summer of 2006, he took courses at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London followed by a semester abroad program in Kenya. During his time in Kenya, he interned for a performing arts organization in Nairobi-now called VOCAL-that uses dance, music, and theatre for education, development, and social change.
The following summer, Reynolds returned to Nairobi and produced a full-length documentary with VOCAL that became the core of his senior honors thesis. This project led Reynolds to further collaboration with the group, and in the spring of 2009 he led nine members of VOCAL to St. Louis to present their educational performances.
Through these experiences Reynolds realized that the performing arts occupy a unique place in all cultures, and that an artist studying his/her craft in a global setting gains specific and marketable skills, but also an incredible insight into the marvelous workings of the human condition.
At this point, he began to imagine an organization that could offer opportunities that would achieve both goals. He started to build a network of potential partners and investors who shared similar passions for international performing arts programs.
After two years of initial planning, PAA officially launched in August of 2011. Since then, Performing Arts Abroad has quickly become the foremost leader in study abroad, volunteer, internship, and professional education opportunities for students and professional artists from all over the globe pursuing music, dance, theatre, and film.
Our Company’s Core Values
Nothing is the way it has to be.
Why Before What
Always keep sight of our purpose and the larger picture.
People you’d like to have a drink with.
Special things for special occasions.
One on one human contact (at an appropriate social distance, of course).
Stand in the center of your integrity.