As a person who was constantly shoved onto the basketball court or into a library, a course called Destination Theatre is an absolute dream come true. I grew up watching musicals and listening to every Broadway soundtrack available because my mother has always been a huge fan of theatre, and while my father can appreciate the beauty of various art forms, he was adamant against my participating in it. For this reason, I was not immersed in the theatre arts until I was old enough to enrol myself as well as financially support myself in that regard. After that, I became extremely passionate and could not imagine life without it. My first experience with performing was in grade 10 when I was cast in a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat,” with Spotlight Theatre Company. After that, I joined their unique competition team where we would travel to the United States and perform musical theatre tribute numbers for retired Broadway professionals. Kind of like Glee! Through the process, I realized that dance was my favourite aspect of musical theatre and became more focused on building my technique. Since then I have expanded my dancing to ballroom; I have become involved in theatre on campus, and as a choreographer in London for Original Kids Theatre Company. So, when I came across a course where I could receive a legitimate credit to see 8-10 live shows minimum in London, England, I knew was an opportunity I could not pass up.
Travelling abroad in itself is a learning opportunity as you engage in a new culture, surroundings, and lifestyle. However, as my background is primarily musical theatre, I hope to develop an entirely new appreciation for theatre as we see mostly plays. Additionally as a Kinesiology student, I have very little experience with Shakespeare, and it is something I have always struggled with. Consequently, I am concerned that I will not understand everything or anything when we see Shakespearean theatre. I have a great appreciation for Shakespeare and the content of his plays, therefore the fact that I will be seeing his art in his birthplace, is exciting but also rather daunting. In an attempt to prepare myself, I am planning to do lots of reading and background research on the Shakespearean plays we will be seeing prior to the trip. It is my hope that having the knowledge and context going in will make it easier to understand and process.
From this course, I hope to learn more about the range of emotional experiences that theatre can provoke. I want to open my mind to new genres and understand how the intricacies of live theatre can leave audiences feeling moved after a show. This reminds me of the first time I ever saw Les Misérables live and how I felt genuinely connected to the performers the entire show. I could feel Jean Val Jean and Eponine’s pain, as well as deep sympathy for Javert as I got to know him not as an evil character but as misunderstood. I am very excited to see the West End’s rendition of this iconic and timeless show, and to observe how I am left feeling after that theatrical experience. Will it be the same as that first time? Will it be different? I am not sure but I certainly cannot wait to find out!
My name is Thalia and I am a third year Kinesiology student at the University of Western Ontario.