It was in Professor Kidnie’s Shakespeare and the Drama of His Age class that I first learned of the Destination Theatre course. As I sat there listening to a fellow student recount her experience in England last summer, I found myself picturing a summer abroad. I weighed the pros and cons, I considered the financial situation I would be in if I applied… and then I asked myself, “When will I get a chance like this again?”
It wasn’t long before I applied, and soon enough I was accepted into the course that would change my life for the better. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling my bank account. After four years at Western, I have decided that this is the perfect way to end my undergraduate experience. As I write this, I am already day-dreaming about the sights, the excitement and the culture that England has to offer.
Theatre has been a love of mine since the tenth grade, when I discovered the highs and lows of putting on a production. I invested every free moment in theatre in the years to follow, either through directing, acting, set building, or even discovering a passion for mask-making. When I came to university, I took a step back from the performance and back-stage aspect of theatre, focusing my attention on school. Fortunately, I have had the chance to keep my passion for theatre alive through reading plays and seeing a play here and there. Most recently, I was reminded of how much I enjoy Shakespeare when our class went to Stratford to watch Romeo and Juliet.
In contrast, visiting the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon will feel like another world entirely. I look forward to exploring the archives, and I cannot begin to describe my excitement when I imagine seeing Christopher Eccleston perform in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I think above all, the moment I look forward to most is stepping into London’s Globe Theatre which is “at the core of London’s cultural sphere” (Harvie 26). As someone who has only seen relatively small local theatre, I am eager to finally witness a traditional, open-air production in London. I am also ecstatic to have a chance to be given a tour of London by Jen Harvie – someone who seems to know the culture inside and out. I hope to have a chance to see some musicals as well, such as Les Miserables or maybe even The Phantom of the Opera, as I am familiar with the films but have never had the opportunity to see them performed live.
I think my greatest fear of this trip will be to miss out on a life-changing experience. I know that there are about a million and one things to discover in London, and I don’t want to blink for a second knowing I could miss something special. I can already predict that I won’t have a moment when I am not sightseeing or seeing extra shows in order to make the most of this experience.
Shannen Stroe is a fourth year Political Science and English Literature student at Western.
Harvie, Jen. Theatre & The City. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.