Earlier we told you about how, for the first time ever, we’ve launched two new programs specifically for high school-aged students. Well today we want to talk about one of those programs: the High School Musical Theatre Training Program in London.…
Join peers your own age for musical theatre training in some of the West End’s most famous studios…the same studios where they rehearse the West End shows! You will take classes in acting, singing, dance, audition techniques, and stage combat, and participate in workshops of West End shows led by current West End cast members. You will get a backstage tour of at least one West End theatre depending on which session you attend, and tickets to see at least three shows every week. The training program is intensive, courses from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., followed by an hour for lunch and other workshops or classes in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. You will also have the unique opportunity to perform a song or monologue for a top West End agent, followed by a Q&A session.
To view and download the complete day-by-day itinerary, please click here.
To view and download a list of some of the instructors that have taught on this program in the past, please click here.
As participants for this program are under 18, safety through support and supervision is our number one concern. In addition to our experienced Site Director Anna Bermani, we will be providing a PAA Group Leader who will accompany the high school group on all activities outside of training and will be available 24 hours for support. The group will return to the hostel for the night by 10 p.m. on weekdays (except for nights where a show may run long), and 11 p.m. on weekends.
“My time in London was absolutely incredible. I learned so much that I wouldn’t have been able to learn back home or anywhere else. Besides doing what I love and working with professionals I also got to share my passion with the wonderful people I met through the program. Not only from the U.S, but Germany, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Australia, and Hong Kong. Being able to have experienced so much in three short weeks was amazing and I encourage anyone interested to do it.”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
The Rivoli Ballroom is one of the last remaining ballrooms preserved in the 1950s style architecture. The ballroom attracts an eccentric, enthusiastic crowd looking for a fun night of dancing and dressing up from “night out” clothes to David Copperfield inspired costumes. Open infrequently to the pubic, check the website and Facebook to find out their next event.
The Rivoli Ballroom has been a location for many TV shows, movies, and music videos. Musicians such as Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine, and The White Stripes have used the ballroom for music videos and gigs.
Hailed as one of the most exciting, innovative dance spaces The Place, is a space that houses the London Contemporary Dance School, the Richard Alston Dance Company, and a 280 seat theatre. The Place offers classes, workshops, and other professional development opportunities for artists young and old. Performances are open to the public year round as well as festivals and special events. The Place is a member of the European Dancehouse Network aimed to support UK artists.
One of the many famous West End theatres, Queen’s Theatre is in the Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square area of London. The theatre is most notable for housing the world famous musical Les Miserables since 2004 after its run at the Palace Theatre for 19 years prior.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by William Shakespeare’s company the “Lord Chamberlin’s Men” and was rebuilt in 1614 after a fire destroyed the original. The latest version of the theatre, renamed “Shakespeare’s Globe,” opened in 1997. Travel back in time and attend a Shakespeare play in the unique open-air theatre.
English National Ballet
The English National Ballet is one of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain alongside The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and the Scottish Ballet. The company employs an internationally diverse group of dancers and a symphony orchestra known as the English National Ballet Philharmonic. The company has performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London as well as international tours. The English National Ballet offers classes ranging from beginner to advance as well as dance workshops.
Royal Court Theatre
Hailed by the New York Times as “the most important theatre in Europe,” the Royal Court Theatre is located next to the Sloane Square Station. The theatre is known for being a huge proponent and supporter of local playwrights in order to cultivate an authentic, diverse selection of plays for the public.
“The undisputed epicenter of new writing in this country.” -Time Out
“It’s hard not to rave about the Royal Court.” -Guardian
PAA Home Base
All training on this program will happen in the studios of the iconic Dominion Theatre, a truly remarkable West End theatre seating over 2,000 people. The Dominion recently hosted the hit musical An American in Paris, and is now the site of the award-winning Bat out of Hell. Every day you walk through the doors of the Dominion, you will be training in the same studios where they rehearse West End shows, and many of your instructors will be members of current West End casts!
About the Location
London is one of the most renowned cities for musical theatre on the planet, and the West End is at the epicenter. Perhaps no other area in the world can boast the quality and variety of musical theater performances as you will find in the theaters of the West End, such as the famous Lyceum Theatre, London Palladium, and Apollo Victoria Theatre, which seats over 2,500 people.
London’s energy is contagious and will have you hooked as soon as you step off the plane. In addition to the vibrant theatre scene, you will have the opportunity to explore the cultural, historical, and political landmarks of the city with other participants and the PAA Group Leader. From London Bridge to Big Ben, learn what it means to call London home. The abundance of theater groups and organizations, and the reasonable price of theatre tickets (especially compared to everything else in the city!) makes this a worthwhile destination for even a short visit, and the ideal place for a training program in musical theatre.
Housing is in a hostel near the West End training facilities and the Russell Square tube station, and rooms will be shared with other high school program participants of the same sex. The Performing Arts Abroad group leader will have a single room in the same hostel, and will be available 24 hours per day.
- Fast and free WiFi throughout the hostel
- 24 hour lounge with foosball, pool (billiards), and big-screen TVs
- Continental breakfast every day from 7-10 a.m. for just 4.50 GBP
- Food for purchase from noon to 10 p.m. every day
- Snacks available in 24 hour vending machines
- Laundry facilities open 24 hours (2.00 GBP to wash, from 0.50 GBP to dry)
- 24 hour reception with Duty Manager available to help with any issues
- Travel shop where you can buy tickets to local attractions
- Basic amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, etc. will be easily accessible from the hostel.
You will share your room with up to three fellow training participants of the same sex, and you will share the bathroom with other residents in the same wing. The Performing Arts Abroad group size is usually between 20 and 30 people of varying ages averaging 16 to 25, who join a dozen or so additional participants who come to London individually for the training sessions. In the past, there have been participants from many different countries, including the United States, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Finland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, France, China, Spain, and more.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
Imagine waking up to the sounds of the London streets below you, and heading off to train in the studios of one of the West End’s most iconic theatres. Your mornings will be spent taking classes at your level in acting, singing, dancing, stage combat, audition techniques, and puppetry, and your afternoons will focus on workshopping scenes from famous musicals with members of the current casts on the West End. In the middle of your first week, you will get an exclusive backstage tour of a West End theatre, and tickets to a show where you will see some of your instructors performing on stage. Weekends will feature masterclasses where you will have the opportunity to perform a song or monologue for agents and casting directors, followed by a Q&A with a London theatre professional.
The skills you gain from this program’s training are only the beginning. You will also walk away with a much deeper knowledge of the theatre industry in London, and what it takes to be a professional performer at a high level.
You will book your flight to arrive at Heathrow Airport in London (LHR) between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on the arrival date. Our Site Director Anna and your session’s PAA Group Leader will be waiting at a pre-arranged meeting point where the group will gather. Once the last person reaches the meeting point (around 1:00 p.m.), Anna and the Group Leader will travel with all of you to the housing where everyone will be given a welcome pack and go on a walking tour of the neighborhood, where you will be shown important sites such as ATMs, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. Following the neighborhood tour, you will be encouraged to go to bed to try and adjust to the new time zone! The next day, you will join a one-hour orientation about the program, health and safety, the city of London and British culture, followed by a Welcome Meal at a local pub or restaurant. Following the meal, the group will join a tour of the performance collection at the famous Victoria and Albert Museum.
A Typical Day
For the remainder of the program, you will have training from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., followed by an hour for lunch and other classes or workshops in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. After the training session each day, the Group Leader will accompany the group on excursions and activities which may include a show at the Globe Theatre, a trip to Brighton, a visit to the London Eye, a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, a day of shopping in Picadilly Circus, a picnic in Hyde Park, and much more.
The West End is London’s equivalent of Broadway, and arguably even more prestigious. Our program’s founder—herself an experienced West End performer having appeared in many shows including Les Misérables, the Sound of Music, and Billy Elliot coupled with extensive work on BBC television—heads a team of instructors who have in-depth experience performing as well as teaching. You will be working with some of the most accomplished stage actors in the world, as well as highly skilled dancers, stage combat instructors, and other staff working through the West End’s education and outreach programs. For the workshops of West End shows, your instructors will have been or will currently be performing in that very show. In some cases, you will see your instructors perform in the show you are working on the same day you have the workshop! Classes are held in West End studios, and you will be provided with tickets to shows, and a backstage tour of one of the West End theaters.
To view and download the complete day-by-day itinerary, please click here.
Founder and Executive Director
Reynolds graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with a degree in Theater and African and African American Studies. For an honors thesis Reynolds filmed, edited, and produced a full-length documentary in Kenya with Haba na Haba, a group using performance for education and social change in the slums of Nairobi. This project earned him the Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award. A year later, Reynolds organized a trip to bring Haba na Haba to the United States for a tour of St. Louis and Washington University. Immediately after graduation, Reynolds worked in Rwanda as a filmmaker for Millennium Congregations, an interfaith organization connecting communities of faith in the United States with development projects in Rwanda’s Bugesera District. Reynolds then served two years with Teach for America, teaching in the South Bronx and receiving a Masters Degree in Education from Hunter College. He completed a second graduate degree in African Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his Masters thesis focused on the impact of donors on the creative process of Theatre for Development (TfD) groups in Kenya.
Reynolds has traveled extensively in Africa, spending time in Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also studied acting, voice, and movement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Reynolds is a two-time Rhodes Scholarship finalist, the inaugural recipient of the Dred and Harriet Scott Award for the Advancement of Human Rights, and the winner of two research fellowships. He was also a Dialogue Fellow for the Xenia Institute, has twice served as the co-director for the Roosevelt Institution’s International Diplomacy Center (Washington University branch), and was president of the Graduate Students of African Studies (GSAS) at Indiana University.
Reynolds lives in Northampton, MA with his wife Julia who is a professional costume designer and his daughter Lily who is a cute baby. In his free time Reynolds likes to play his guitar, go hiking, act in local productions, hit the karaoke bars, sing with his dog Captain (the best doggy singer in the universe), and play various yard games such as KanJam, cornhole, “cups”, and Kubb.
London Site Director
Anna supports all participants on our programs in London, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in the United Kingdom. She coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Anna holds a B.A. in English and German from Ca’Foscari University of Venice. The Italian village where she was born was never enough for her and from a young age she decided she wanted to see the world and meet a lot of people from different cultures. Fascinated by foreign languages and traveling she first studied abroad in London when she was in high school and then at Humboldt Universität in Berlin a few years after. New York City holds a special place in her heart, ever since she was an intern at the Italian Cultural Institute there.
After volunteering and working for the not-for-profit association AFS Intercultural Program helping hundreds of high school students enroll and prepare for their experience abroad, she moved to London and focused on working with university students. She loves West End musicals, fashion, drinking green tea, spending time at the V&A museum, studying Korean and backpacking throughout Southeast Asia.
London Program Director, Musical Theatre
Rachel leads the training component of our London musical theatre programs. She books studios, hires instructors, coordinates the training schedule, and books tickets for West End shows and backstage tours.
Rachel Bingham is a West End performer and the director of West End On Demand, PAA’s musical theatre training partner in London.
Rachel started dancing at a local dance school at age 3 and it wasn’t long before singing and acting followed. After watching Les Miserables in the West End when she was 10 years old she knew that this was what she wanted to do with her life. She wrote in her diary that her dream was to be in Les Miserables and she was happy to play any part, including the barricade! Rachel then immersed herself in theatre, listening to theatre soundtracks, taking part in lots of local shows and school productions as well as continuing classes. At age 19 Rachel attended the Mountview Academy Of Theatre Arts one of the most prestigious musical theatre colleges in London and from there she got her agent Gilbert And Payne Management and her career began. Rachel has now been working in the theatre industry for 13 years and her dream came true – she was cast in Les Miserables in the West End for two years as Crone, ensemble and first understudy Madame Thenarider.
Rachel’s work includes: Les Miserables (West End), Les Miserables 25th Anniversary (O2 Arena), Billy Elliot (West End), The Sound Of Music (West End), Acorn Antiques The Musical (UK Tour), She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory, London), Jerry Springer The Opera (UK Tour), That Day We Sang (Victoria Wood, Manchester), BBC Proms, London Olympic Opening Ceremony, plus much more. Rachel has also worked in television and as a recording artist.
Rachel started West End On Demand in 2009 as she wanted to share her passion for performing arts with others and encourage people of all ages to feel more confidant and follow their dreams.
Just one unforgettable experience. I made friends for life and I discovered what kind of path I want to make in my career. I also discovered things about myself I didn’t know before. I wish it never ended.
“Thanks to PAA, I was able to travel to a city I’ve always wanted to go to, to do what I love most. Along the way, I met some amazing people,watched some beautiful pieces of theatre, crossed a number of things off of my bucket list, and made some lifelong friends.”
“I was blown away with this program-especially the instructors hired through the West End on Demand program. I enjoyed the diversity of the students and the free time to see shows or explore the city in the evenings.”
From the blog
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|Session||Application Deadline||Start Date||End Date|
|Three Week Session||Apr 07 2020||Jul 18 2020||Aug 09 2020|
|Two Week Session||Apr 07 2020||Jul 18 2020||Aug 02 2020|
|One Week Session||Apr 07 2020||Jul 18 2020||Jul 26 2020|
Important Summer 2020 Dates
|Summer 2019 One Week Session||$5,615|
|Summer 2019 Two Week Session||$6,480|
|Summer 2019 Three Week Session||$7,250|
Apply today — How the process works
Submit a simple online application
Schedule a live video interview with a Program Coordinator
Upload program specific materials to an online portal
Receive your aceptance decision and begin your journey!
How the process works
To apply, click the “Apply Now” button on this page. You will fill out a simple initial application online and pay a deposit that is refundable if you are not accepted. Otherwise, this deposit will be applied toward your overall program cost (not an additional fee). We will review your initial application and contact you within a few days to let you know if we are inviting you to the final step. At that point, we will open an online portal for you and ask you to upload the following materials:
- Resume / CV
- Your availability in U.S. Eastern Time for a 30 minute video interview with your Program Coordinator.
- The Skype interview is our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
- Make sure your resume is up to date and includes all relevant theatrical experience.
- For dancing, singing, and acting classes, an advanced course will be offered and those interested in taking the advanced level will be asked to submit an audition video. This video is not required for acceptance to the program, and is due May 15th. For the dance video, you should perform at least six contemporary dance sequences showing: floor work, traveling and use of space, turning, balances, and jumps. For the singing video, you should sing an entire song from a musical (not just 16 bars). For the acting video, you should perform two contrasting monologues no longer than 2:00 per piece, and at least one of the monologues should be from a play.
Participants must be 16 or 17 on the day they begin the program.
GPA / Student Status
There is no GPA requirement for this program, you are not required to be a currently enrolled student to participate.
There is no foreign language requirement for this program, all instruction will be in English.
We give preference to applicants with at least one year of performing arts experience. All applicants will be automatically placed in beginning level courses for acting, singing, and dance unless you submit an audition video for the advanced level.
We are looking for open-minded, flexible applicants who can clearly convey their passion for musical theatre and an acute interest in international travel and exposure to new ideas.