Theatre Immersion in London and Edinburgh
Summer 2018 | London and Edinburgh, United Kingdom
First stop: London, for a full immersion in British theatre. Hit the West End, with its plethora of mainstream, big-budget productions. Pay homage at Shakespeare’s Globe and see classic and contemporary plays at the Royal National Theatre. Venture into the fringe, where independent artists are reimagining theatre in pubs, churches and warehouses. Second stop: Edinburgh, just in time for the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest nonstop arts extravaganza, featuring nearly 50,000 performances across 300 venues—from opera to cabaret, from circus
to spoken word.
Perspectives on British Theatre
Understand the sweep of British theatre, from Shakespeare to Shaw to Stoppard. Recognize the differences and similarities among a broad range of theatrical styles and productions, placing them in a global context. Learn why the British theatre scene has long been so politically charged and how theatrical artists have worked to subvert—or support—political and social convention across eras.
Theatre as Global Stage
Discover how a country’s culture affects its theatre product—and vice versa. Start by examining the British context, then draw connections with your experiences of American theatre and culture. Note which plays in London and Edinburgh have been created by artists from other countries, and consider the ways in which stylistic presentations and thematic preferences differ around the globe.
Explore British theatre, attending plays and theatrical productions almost daily. Enjoy the theatregoing experience—but pay close critical attention to acting, staging, visual elements, venues and audiences as well as the intellectual and emotional content of the plays. Deepen your learning through class discussion as well as lectures and conversations with notable guest speakers from the theatre world. Record your observations in a play diary.
Cross-Cultural Exchange and Reflection
Go out of your way to experience the local culture. Take the tube or pop into a chip shop. Strike up conversations with fellow theatre fans and festival-goers. British culture and conventions may seem very similar to ours, but note the differences, both subtle and overt, that make each unique. Reflect on these cultural differences and how they manifest in theatre by keeping a daily journal.
Writing and Analysis
Synthesize your experiences, both in and out of the theatre, in five assigned papers drawing on your play diary and daily journal. First, write production reviews of three plays you have seen—one each week—evaluating how well the play was realized through performance and production. Second, explore British theatre and culture in two analytical papers, making meaningful connections between your U.K. experiences and U.S. culture and theatre.
Jim Bazewicz, MFA, Professor of Theatre Arts
Professor Bazewicz focuses his scholarly work on theatrical design and arts administration. As a set designer and art director, he has extensive credits in New York productions as well as local and regional theatres from Maine to Florida to Missouri.