Like mother, like daughter


Diane Timmerman, chair of Butler University’s theatre department, applied to teach a two-week class in Rome almost two years ago. At the same time, her daughter was applying to colleges.

Timmerman emailed a friend about doing an acting workshop more than a year in advance to prepare for her upcoming trip.

Two years later, sophomore Charis Webb is now on the Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts trip in which her mom teaches her theatre class. She said the experience was something unique and special the two of them will share.

“It was a blessing in a lot of ways,” Webb said.

“We have been pretty busy this year, so we had not had too much time to spend together. But in Rome, we got to have a two-hour dinner together and just enjoy each other’s company away from Butler and homework and a house full of kids.”

Webb, who has not taken a theatre class since elementary school, said the class experience with her mother was better than her last acting experience, since she became more outgoing in high school.

“I felt like I would overcompensate if people were being shy,” she said. “If it was any other professor, I would not do that. It was my mom, so I wanted to make sure everything ran smoothly.”

Timmerman agreed that it was nice to see her daughter in class.

“Oh, it was so fun,” she said. “I have never done anything like this before. I directed a show a long time ago that I put all the kids in, but it was years ago.”

The professor said the two-week class looked different from any class she would teach at Butler.

“You don’t have the time to do all the things you want to do,” Timmerman said. “But it is intensified by being in a country that makes the impact of the course even greater.”

Timmerman said one of her favorite moments was watching the class perform its final scenes in Ostia Antica, an ancient Roman theater. The 20 participants broke into pairs to act out snippets of Plautus’ comedy, “Truculentus.”

“I think the GALA program is one of the jewels in Butler’s crown,” she said.

“I don’t think many people know about it though. It allows you to focus on your location and apply your expertise there. It was a great moment to see the performances come alive in the ruins of the theater.”