Five months ago, I was on a plane, flying to London for the inaugural edition of Destination Theatre, the new distance studies course offered through Western Theatre Studies. Over the following two weeks, I’d see twelve theatrical productions, visit a variety of cultural sites, and learn how to find my way around a global city with a wonderful group of like-minded students.
Each morning, we’d begin with a debrief of the show we had seen the night before. As a science student, this was my first time analyzing performance in a critical way, and the course provided me with a new interpretive lens through which to view works of theatre. Taking this course also inspired me to sign up for more theatre studies courses upon returning to Canada.
In the afternoon, we had a number of guest speakers, including reviewers, researchers, and playwrights, and also spent time exploring London and Stratford-upon-Avon. After dinner, we’d head to the theatre as a group. The shows we saw together covered a wide range of genres and time periods, exposing me to types of theatre I may not have chosen to see on my own: everything from absurdist theatre (The Goat at Theatre Royal Haymarket), to Shakespeare (Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe and Titus Andronicus in Stratford-upon-Avon), to West End musicals (Les Miserables). Some of my personal favourites were the world premiere of Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide and the London premiere of Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon. You can read my post on immersive theatre here.
As it was my first trip to Europe, I appreciated the opportunity to travel in a relatively non-threatening environment, staying in Queen Mary residence for the majority of the trip and learning the city from someone who had lived in London for years. By the end of the course, I was able to confidently navigate the underground, something that seemed so daunting only weeks before.
I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. If you’re reading this and considering applying, DO IT. I promise you will not regret it.