Before we go to “Other London”: Hopes, Dreams, and Anxieties

I am one of the most unlikely so-called “theatre kids” that I’ve ever known, and I’ve met some crazy (and also extremely wonderful) people through theatre. I’m horribly shy and often actively try to avoid social interaction, and yet, live performance is something that has always resonated deep within me. So have I evolved since grade six, with my barely audible auditions, onward to extremely minor, nearly nonexistent roles, then medium-sized, and even leading parts (in a big fish, VERY small pond sort of way). More recently I’ve also expanded into various production roles, as well as writing for the stage.

I’m one of the very few students at Western who is actually part of the Theatre Studies major module, hoping to double with English. I’ve known about the Destination Theatre course for my entire undergraduate career, and always referred to the website longingly, wondering if it was something I could make work. I have extensive family obligations, a limited budget, and most pressingly, that pesky awkwardness and fear of social situations. However, as soon as my family became aware that this course existed, they struck down that barrier, saying two weeks studying what I love abroad would be better than sitting around, waiting for something to maybe happen with them. The budget issue disappeared as well, the course fees being gifted to me. Thus, I ran out of excuses, and had to face my anxieties concerning travelling abroad.

As a person who tends towards anxiety, I definitely have some concerns going into this. I very rarely travel by plane, and haven’t done it alone before at all. I have a very poor sense of direction, and usually have to map out a route on Google for anything that isn’t a straight line. Even then I can be pretty useless. I’ll also be worried about what’s going on at home while I’m away, because I can never help but worrying about any and every possibility. That said, I’m great at contingency plans.

Don’t let any of my negativity trick you into thinking I’m not excited, though. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this chance I have. I absolutely love Shakespearean drama, so the idea of seeing the very place it all began is amazing. I’m also hoping to get some musicals in, as my absolute favourite genre of theatre. Hopefully, with the variety of shows our class chooses, I can also expand my horizons a bit with non-musical and non-Shakespearean theatre.

In ways I never believe possible, but happen regardless, theatre continues to force me to ask questions, seek out answers, and grow stronger as a person. As such, I expect that I will gain something from this experience in England that I wouldn’t be able to guess would happen beforehand. I hope to gain a bit of confidence in social settings, and in myself, which are both things I’m aware that I am severely lacking. Our class seems to be a group of lovely people though, and this is a very unique opportunity for me, so I’m not so afraid of disappointing myself. And since this is a blog, I’ll suppose I’ll…keep you posted.


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