Theatre major Samantha French recently spent two weeks in London with PAA’s Summer Acting Intensive at Shakespeare’s Globe program.
As a theatre major, I was used to sitting in several classes and learning about theatres and cultures from all around the world. I remember several times looking at The Globe theatre in my textbook and daydreaming about what it must be like to exist on that page. At the time, going all the way to London seemed impossible, so I always just filed that thought away as a simple daydream. Little did I know that this dream would become a reality.
When I heard that my friend Hannah had been accepted into a program called Performing Arts Abroad, I was immediately intrigued. She told me she found this great program online and after an application, interview, and some waiting she had been selected to go to London, England and do theatre training at The Globe theatre. I asked her to forward me all of the information and one night I threw caution to the wind and applied. It seemed like a long-shot. I had never been out of the country before and I didn’t know how intimidating the program leader might be. To my surprise, I was selected to go through the interview process and shortly after, was accepted into the program! I was thrilled, I immediately began researching all I could about London, The Globe, and getting together the necessary documents and resources for my trip. Luckily PAA makes all of this information very clear and accessible so I wasn’t left feeling in the dark about anything.
When I got to London, I was a little nervous about the two weeks ahead of me. I was aware of our schedule and knew I would be experiencing very new, once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Our schedule consisted of fun tourist activities such as visiting Shakespeare’s grave and home, touring theatres, and seeing shows in London. However, it also consisted of our training (acting, voice, stage combat, text analysis, history, movement, etc.)
I can honestly say that Reynolds and Anna, the coordinators of the trip, made me feel safe and comfortable my whole time there. My experience with my teachers in London was the same. I could tell they genuinely wanted us to gain as much as we possibly could within our two weeks. I met so many great thespians and we are still in contact today. Learning together daily and creating a final performance made us all feel like a family unit.
As an actor, I learned so much about one of the most daunting forms of the craft: Shakespeare. Being able to train and learn everyday and then seeing our training being put to life on The Globe stage was a huge breakthrough moment for me. I’ve learned more about theatre in these two weeks than I have in some of my courses back home.
If you need a sign about whether or not to embark on a program like this, this is it. Do it. You get to travel the world, do what you love, and most importantly create experience and learn lessons you will take with you back home and throughout your career.