Theater Abroad!

For some students this summer, something awesome happened in Great Britain.

From July 20 to Aug. 15, fifteen students from the theater department spent three weeks in England and three days in Scotland performing in the Fringe Festival. Ten of the fifteen students also traveled to Paris for four days.

For the first two weeks, the students traveled all over London visiting Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, the British National Museum, the Tower of London, and Portobello Road.

They ate at Eagle and Child, a pub C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien frequented. They also visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, where students could stand on one side of the dome, spanning roughly half a football field, and whisper clearly through the dome to students on the other side. In addition, they rode the London Underground (also called the Tube), where they saw the famous Platform Nine and Three-Quarters from the Harry Potter series.

The students saw, on average, thirteen plays on the West End (the British Broadway). Jana Grass, theater major, said they had the chance to see Pygmalion, the play that inspired the acclaimed musical My Fair Lady. “It was beautifully done,” she said. “The sets were huge and phenomenal. We all felt it was a really enlightening experience and a very empowering story.” One of the highlights was seeing Shakespearean plays such as King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor in the Globe Theatre.

After two weeks, they traveled to Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon, to spend the night. They stopped by Oxford University on the way and visited some of the sites used in the Harry Potter films. On the way back to London, they visited Warwick Castle, which features one of the world’s largest siege engines.

Afterwards, thirteen students flew to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform three comic sketches from Chekov’s Flies in the Snuffbox for two days. Jana described how the students stood on Royal Mile in costume advertising to pedestrians. They were with many other entertainers on the Mile, from jugglers to singers, and had to compete for attention. “I stood yelling, ‘Come see Americans make fools of themselves as they attempt Russian comedy — in Scotland!'” said Scott Stringham, a theater education major. “People would be like, ‘What? Nah,’ then turn and get a flyer from me.” The students also saw The Two Widows, a comedic opera, before flying back home to the States.

Each year, the Study Abroad program sends self-paying students from a variety of departments all over the world. The UVU theater department is one of the most prestigious in the valley, and the students who visited Great Britain felt it was an educational and enjoyable experience worth every penny.

For more information on UVU’s theater program, see Erin Glover in LA 220. For more on Study Abroad, visit WB 100.

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