Academic and Artistic Balance

Jorge Franco

Jorge Franco IV '14
Literary Studies and Creative Arts 

An opportunity to study literature in Paris is a dream come true. When I graduated from a New York City drama school in 2011, I knew that I also wanted to be a playwright. I figured that I needed to immerse myself in literary studies and blend them with my theatre studies, in order to ultimately be able to write good plays. The problem was, I was also looking for life experience. I believe theatre and literature are representations of life, so without life experience, how would I be able to write? AUP has not only offered me the opportunity to study in one of the most relevant cultural centers in the world, it has also given me the chance to study German and Irish theatre as well as Medieval literature and French classics, with the added benefit of bilingual editions and multilingual professors. These are just a handful of the subjects comparative literature students have access to at AUP. The beauty of studying literature at an American university in Paris is that my degree covers an incredibly expansive range of literature and offers deep exposure to the European and American literary traditions.

It is also thanks to AUP that I have found a writing tutor who has become a mentor, a friend, and one of the most influential professors I have ever studied under. Through the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Greene, I have not only been able to practice and grow as a writer, but also to develop several plays here in Paris. These experiences are invaluable both artistically and academically. From day one Professor Greene has been a springboard for me to bounce off ideas. He’s the perfect example of an able and dedicated instructor. I’m lucky in that Dr. Greene has not been the only exceptional teacher I have studied under in my department. It’s wonderful to be taught by passionate professors who are practicing what they teach and love what they do. I am inspired to work harder because I know that my support system is so strong.

AUP has offered me the opportunity to study in one of the most relevant cultural centers in the world, with the added benefit of bilingual editions and multilingual professors. - Jorge Franco IV

AUP offers a Summer Creative Writing Institute that is carefully and enthusiastically engineered by professor Greene and offers students invaluable literary exposure and development. This has been another valuable part of my training. Since Paris acts as muse to countless writers, the Summer Institute is also an incredible opportunity to meet many of the professional writers it attracts, as they share their work and their wisdom.

In 2012, my first play, Atiya, was staged in New York City. The experience has launched an obsessive journey into what for me was a brand-new facet of the theatre. Dr. Greene helped me to develop my second play Saturday Night Sleeping from first draft to fruition. I began the play upon my arrival in Paris over a year ago and submitted the first draft to Dr. Greene for critique. With his help, I was able to edit the play and present it to actors for a read-through. With generous support from AUP and outside sponsors, the play went into production and was presented to the public at the Ciné 13 Théâtre in Montmartre on December 9th, 2014. Several of my literature professors were in attendance. I am now in the process of writing several new plays to be staged in New York City, Paris and London.

As a young Anglophone theatre-maker, I have found myself taking regular trips to London in search of further inspiration, work and artistic collaboration. By far one of the best trips I have ever taken was with Dr. Daniel Gunn on a Shakespearean study trip. With Dr. Gunn’s guidance we took a tour of the Globe Theatre (a dream of mine for years), and attended several excellent theatrical performances. The trip, however, did not only take us to London. We found ourselves embarking on a journey to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, to visit the Royal Shakespeare Company and join the audience for their productions of Antony and Cleopatra and Richard II. The RSC is a formidable and dreamlike institute, and though I have seen many plays these two at the RSC were among the best I have ever seen. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra had me suffering a near mental break. I can’t remember being more pleased to attend the theatre. 

Relocating to Paris put me at a slight disadvantage because naturally my connections were zilch. Luckily, the city is a breeding ground for artistic expression, and it wasn’t long before I had established relationships that are now vital to the work that I do. I have met actors (both French and American), writers and performance artists, all of whom I have had the pleasure to work with here in France, and I am certain that our collaborations will continue in the future. AUP’s central location in the heart of Paris has given me the opportunity to reach outside of my comfort zone and immediate academic community in order to make new friends and colleagues.

AUP has offered me a balance between academic and artistic opportunity. Paris is a marvelous place to spend at least a few of your formative years, and I am forever grateful to the people I have met here who have changed my life.

Meet more students and alumns from the Department of Comparative Literature and English.

Jorge Franco

Jorge Franco IV '14
Literary Studies and Creative Arts 

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  • Cassandra

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  • Shalise Barnes

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    I use the freedom allowed in literary work and the precision needed in psychology research to make the most of the learning opportunities I have here at AUP. Read more...

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  • Jean-Baptiste Matton

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    Every morning, when I walk to AUP, I cross the Atlantic Ocean. I'm a French student who has spent the last fifteen years in the French army. Read more... 

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    Did you know the chemical formula to make rabbit skin glue? Twenty bucks says you don’t and you need to take this class. It is a whole new level of applied knowledge of art. Read more...

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    The kinds of things I was studying in the global communications department and in my minors only fed the fire, getting me more interested in how video worked as a medium. Read more...

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  • Paris Summer School Design Workshop

    The Paris Summer School in Design

    The Paris Summer School in Design at AUP gives students a unique chance to participate in an international teaching–led research workshop on design and performance. Read more...

  • mouse

    Online Privacy: the PRIPARE project

    A woman enters a liquor store. Within seconds, the man behind the counter has figured out her name, where she lives and her birthday. Read more...

  • Shadows

    Warhol's Shadows

    This fall, a landmark exhibit of Warhol’s work is opening at the Musée d’Art Moderne, co-curated by Professor Hervé Vanel. Read more...

  • Jura

    Food and Culture

    Nibbling on a piece of rich, milky, nutty cheese might have more cultural implications than you think. Read more...

  • Varda

    Varda from 4 to 6

    “Marie Regan, c’est Agnès Varda!” Professor Marie Regan had just received a voicemail from reknown filmmaker Agnès Varda and was playing it back to students. Read more...

  • Drawing

    The Language of Drawing

    Tired of studying art through slide projections? Come to AUP and learn from sitting in front of the original works themselves. Read more...

  • Opera Garnier

    Paris Through its Architecture

    What course enables you to discover Paris' rich architectural history while bonding with fellow students? Read more…

  • bouquiniste

    Summer Creative Writing Institute

    The Summer Creative Writing Institute offers students the opportunity to practice writing well-crafted fiction and literary nonfiction under the guidance of highly accomplished writers. Read more...

  • Eagle

    AUP’s webzine “Nature and Cultures”

    Professor Oleg Kobtzeff recently published the first issue of the webzine he created along with AUP colleagues, alumni and students. Read more...

  • Macarons-Workshop

    Macaron and Chocolate Making Workshop

    Each year, students of French Language and Culture of Elementary Level 1 make a visit to the macaron and chocolate making workshop of French patissier Gerard Mulot. Read more...

  • Paris

    Cultural Mapping in Paris

    Associate Professor Stephen Sawyer recently received attention following the results of his research project on Paris. Read more...

  • Naz-Oligarchy

    Billionaires in World Politics

    Professor Hägel has developed a course that combines a research seminar with watchdog activism in order to scrutinize the power of the ultra-wealthy: “billionaireswatch.org”. Read more...

  • Picture of Proust and Beckett Book

    Proust and Beckett

    In “Proust and Beckett: The Art of Failure,” students read a selection of works from both authors, who are undoubtedly two of the twentieth century’s major prose writers, and explore their stories through museums and exhbitions. Read more...

  • Fez

    Fez Practicum

    The Fez practicum takes students to Fez, Morrocco to provide them with training in cross-media platforms and an introduction to the workings of cultural and social life in an unusual and complex historic city. Read more...

  • Picture of student filming

    Video Production

    Over the course of the semester, the student pairs learn their way around HD cameras, microphones, and the ins and outs of the editing program Final Cut Pro in order to produce two video projects. Read more...

  • Picture of students and visitors in the Louvre

    Les Jeunes ont la Parole

    The program's goal is to enter into dialogue with Louvre visitors around a work of art. The program was conceived to draw youth into what are often perceived as discouragingly daunting walls. Read more...

  • Fashion Journalism

    Fashion Journalism

    The course prepares students to write about various aspects of fashion, ranging from trend forecasting, sustainability, street styles, graphic design and business. Read more...

  • Picture of bookshelf

    Paris Through its Books

    Students take advantage of the University’s location to visit the ruins of Roman baths, the sewers through which Hugo’s Jean Valjean escaped and the former locations of palaces and barricades. Read more...