Eliza Fleming ’25 Finds Her Place Onstage and in the Rhodes Community

a young woman sings on stage
Eliza Fleming '25 onstage in the Rhodes Theatre Guild production of "Amelie"

Recently starring in Rhodes Theatre Guild’s (RTG) production of the musical Amélie, French and Francophone studies and education double major Eliza Fleming ’25 rediscovered her passion for the stage. But more than that, her performance was a testament to how she has come into her own during her time at Rhodes.

Fleming transferred to Rhodes her sophomore year and lists its strong sense of community, small class sizes, and location in the heart of Midtown Memphis as major draws. “Rhodes is a special place,” says Fleming. “The size and the community fostered here makes campus feel like a home away from home.”

Although the former music major joined RTG her first year at Rhodes, she didn’t audition for any shows. “I didn’t feel confident in my music ability, and the enthusiasm for what I once loved seemed to have fizzled out,” she says. However, after getting more involved with the Rhodes performing arts community, she decided to give music another try. “The different arts programs at Rhodes College have helped me heal my relationship with music, one day at a time.”

a young woman with long dark hair smiles at the camera
Eliza Fleming '25

When Fleming—a lover of all things French—found out that RTG was putting on a production of the musical Amélie, she knew it was her time to jump back into performing. In fact, she landed the lead role, of Amélie Poulain. “Entering the world of theatre again through RTG reminded me of how much I am capable of with dedication,” she says. “Thanks to the wonderful friends I met through the show, I was able to push myself and star in a musical for the first time since 2019!”

Fleming’s interest in France manifests itself at Rhodes far beyond her role in Amélie. She’s an active participant in the French club and recently spent a semester abroad in Lyon, France, through the University Studies Abroad Consortium. While there, Fleming took courses in French and also taught a high school class in English, and says, “I gained real insight into language pedagogy and learned so much about how I want to approach education in the future.” 

Outside of the classroom, she was encouraged to independently explore Lyon and make her own routine. “I had a bakery I shopped at every day, a park I loved to read at, and I took a special walk by the river each day that passed by four separate churches! Even the farmers markets had a story to tell about the neighborhoods around the city,” she says.

In addition, Fleming traveled across Europe, and ended up visiting the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy. Between her coursework and travel, she returned to Rhodes with newfound independence and an even deeper appreciation for the French language and teaching. “Studying abroad really strengthened my confidence in myself, both with my ability to speak French as well as with my ability to adapt to new situations.”

Other Rhodes activities Fleming is involved in include serving as a member of the Chi Omega sorority, an executive board member for Culture of Consent, and the incoming president of Rhodes’ all-female acapella group, Lipstick on your Collar. 

Reflecting on stepping out of her comfort zone and embracing change, she says, “I transferred feeling unsure of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, but I was welcomed with open arms. I have found so much support here at Rhodes.”

By Hannah Meit ’25