Feeling the Cultural Fabric

Theatre is a passion of mine. I can obsess over the Broadway headliners, I will dance around my house to opening numbers from big-band musicals, and I will recite trivia back and forth about original casts and script changes.

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Me in “Little Women”, 2012

During high school, my brother and I performed together in multiple productions and competitions for musical theatre, voice, and dance. Theatre became the thing that bonded my family, and we attended a theatre performance of some level and genre probably 3 to 4 times per week. We were season ticket holders at multiple companies, we knew the casts, we were friends with the directors, and we indulged in a lot of theatre.

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Myself and my brother as Danny Zuko in “Grease”, Calgary, 2016

Since coming to Western, my schedule has gradually become jam-packed and my intake of theatre has gone down. Instead, I choose to use theatre as a research topic for independent projects – I was even selected to present my research about West Side Story at the Western Student Research Conference last year. But then I found Destination Theatre, and I knew I had to enroll in this course. Not only does this course combine theatre and travel, but it allows students to actually experience performances, not just study them, and to experience some of the best theatre the world has to offer.

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2015

I imagine Destination Theatre will provide me with an opportunity to further my experience of theatre through an academic lens, in addition to being a fan and advocate of the art. I hope to also broaden my international experience, though the thought of flying to the UK by myself brings me nauseating visions of lost passports and stolen luggage. I think what I’m most excited for is to experience something new. I’ve been so privileged as to have visited the West End before, and this time I want to see something innovative and unapologetic, something unpredictable and inspiring. I want to see something that I wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else, something that I can’t really describe because I don’t know that it exists yet. I also want to have a completely new experience, not just inside the theatres, but within the cultural fabric that connects the London theatre community with the city at large. I want to witness everyday performances: public transit riders, high-end retail workers, dive bar waiters.

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The Audience of “As You Like It”, The Globe, London, 2015

During past trips, I’ve kept a list of random things that remind me of events, even if it’s just one word. For Destination Theatre, I plan on this list becoming a source of inspiration that I can keep coming back to for creative inspiration or academic motivation. Theatre will always be part of my life – whether woven into my career or as a weekend escape, I plan to always collect playbills and to find old ticket stubs in my coat pockets.

I plan to keep track of the everyday performances.

Morgan McAuley is a second-year student studying English Language & Literature and Advanced Arts & Humanities at Western University. She is from Calgary, Alberta. 

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