We are just chuffed to bits about our West End Musical Theatre summer training program. I get downright giddy when I tell people they can train in famous studios in the heart of London with current and veteran West End…
Complete up to 16 academic credits with a combination of hands-on pre-professional training at Shakespeare’s Globe or in London’s West End, and theatre courses at the award-winning University of Roehampton. Live in a single room in an on-campus house where you will have the chance to meet students from all over the world. Join your theatre classmates and Performing Arts Abroad’s Site Director on trips via train to Bath to see the famous Fashion Museum and Roman baths, and to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, grave, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Call London home for four months of exploring the performing arts and local theatre industry in a semester abroad program unlike any other.
There are three distinct tracks for this theatre semester in London:
Musical theatre – Train with London theatre professionals in iconic West End venues such as Pineapple Dance Studios, Danceworks, and studios housed within some of the largest theatre spaces in the world, with academic credit issued by Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. These are the same studios where West End musicals hold auditions and rehearse productions. Masterclasses and workshops include acting, singing, stage combat, puppetry, jazz, hip hop, ballet, mock auditions with casting directors, question and answer sessions with notable directors, and more. You will workshop musicals such as Wicked, Les Miserables, Waitress, Hairspray, Mama Mia, Mary Poppins, Matilda, and more with current cast members who you will see on stage doing the same choreography and staging you have been learning together in the classes. Supplement your time in the studio with an exploratory Introduction to the London Stage course taught by the distinguished professors of Roehampton University where you will see at least one theatrical production each week, ranging from the large West End theatres to the National Theatre to intimate pub theatres. You will choose a third and final course from an enticing list of options, which you can explore in more detail on the Course Listing section of this page.
Acting – Study with actors and directors at Shakespeare’s Globe and perform in final scenes on the stage of the Globe itself, with academic credit issued by Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.. Attend masterclasses in movement, voice and speech, stage combat, Elizabethan dress, textual analysis, performance practice, and more. Explore every inch of the Globe Theatre in a unique “Heaven to Hell” private tour beginning in the rafters far above the stage and ending underneath the stage peering up through the Elizabethan-era trapdoor. Supplement your time at Shakespeare’s Globe with an Introduction to the London Stage course taught by the distinguished professors of Roehampton University where you will see theatrical productions every week, ranging from the National Theatre to large West End theatres to intimate pub theatres. You will choose a third and final course from an exciting list of options, which you can explore in more detail on the Course Listing section of this page.
Technical Theatre and Theatre Studies – Study technical theatre, dramatic theory, performance studies, theatre history, and more in the city where modern theatre began. You’ll take diverse courses from prominent faculty at the University of Roehampton, one of London’s most prestigious universities. Acquire international theatre knowledge and skills, and become immersed in the culture and surroundings that inspired Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Choose three courses from a carefully curated list of options on the Course Listing section of this page.
My semester at Roehampton was a life-changing experience. With the incredible help of PAA, I was able to spend five indescribable months studying theatre in London. I met people from all over the world, saw game-changing theatre all over the city, and learned so much not only about theatre, but also myself.
Performing Arts Points of Interest
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.
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
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.
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.
PAA Home Base
Throughout your program in London, your home base will be the University of Roehampton. You will stay in a single room and take courses from outstanding faculty in classrooms, theaters, and black box studio spaces. Roehampton is located about a half hour commute from the center of London, tucked away on a beautiful campus near the tennis club where Wimbledon is played, complete with green fields, quaint ponds, and families of geese roaming the grounds. Your pre-professional training masterclasses will be at Shakespeare’s Globe on the River Thames, or in professional studios in London’s West End.
About the Location
London’s energy is contagious and will have you hooked the moment you arrive. 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 students. From Big Ben to the London Bridge, learn what it means to call London home. The abundance of theaters and artistic 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 even better for a full semester.
Spend the semester immersed in the life of a British student by living in student accommodation right on campus. You will have your own room in a six to eight bedroom wing that you share with other British and international students. Your floor will have a spacious common area as well as a full kitchen where you can save money by preparing your own meals. Take advantage of this small group setting to build friendships and community while you study abroad. Classroom buildings, the student center, and restaurants are all nearby. Enjoy the independence of living on your own while still creating lasting relationships with other students.
You will have your own single room in the housing. PAA usually has a handful of students on campus each semester studying dance and theatre, who join hundreds of study abroad students from all over the world. You will spend most of your time with other students in the theatre department, especially if you choose to get involved in campus productions.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
The lights go out and a hushed silence is followed by a roar of applause and cheering. The actors come out for a bow and you rise to your feet with those around you, still not believing that you’re finally seeing a show at London’s iconic National Theatre. And to think this was a class assignment! The stress of the end of the semester is accompanied by an incredible sense of accomplishment as you’ve succeeded in three classes and performed in the campus production. Tomorrow you will join other Performing Arts Abroad students to see a performance at the Royal Albert Hall, and the weekend will include an excursion to Stonehenge and a personal trip to the Harry Potter studios to see how the movies were made and drink a butterbeer on the Hogwarts set. When you arrived, you were missing home. Now, you never want to leave.
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. A PAA Roehampton representative will be waiting at a pre-arranged meeting point, and you will be directed to a Roehampton bus that will take you to campus.
Upon arrival on campus you will meet our Site Director Anna who will give you a welcome packet and help your find your room. Your first afternoon will be a chance to unpack, settle in, meet other students, and join a Roehampton welcome dinner. The following day, Roehampton will lead several on-site orientation activities so that you will be prepared for your experience in London and can begin to get to know other students. The next day you will finalize your registration and class enrollment. PAA’s Site Director Anna will take you out for a Welcome Meal and an additional orientation. This orientation will include important information about the city, an overview of British culture, information about the performing arts scene in London, food, transportation, and other need-to-knows. The following day, you will join additional university orientation activities, such as a “Photo Frenzy Day”, which is an epic photo scavenger hunt that will take you into central London for a chance to win a prize!
A Typical Day
The following few days will include additional pre-class activities, and classes will begin shortly thereafter. For the rest of the program, you will be living on campus going to class and exploring the city on your own as a student in London. We will provide excursions and cultural activities throughout your semester, including trips to Bath to see the famous Fashion Museum and Roman baths, and Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, grave, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. If you are enrolling in the pre-professional training courses in musical theatre with the West End or acting with Shakespeare’s Globe, you will begin attending these twice per week starting your fifth week in London.
Broaden your understanding of the stage, and the history of performance and international theater with this semester-long study abroad program in collaboration with the University of Roehampton, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the West End. PAA students benefit from small class sizes and are immersed in courses with local Londoners and other students from all over the world. The university is located 30 minutes from London’s bustling downtown, offering diverse courses and filled with historically picturesque buildings. Thanks to Roehampton’s unparalleled international student support and its friendly, lively campus, you will feel at home the minute you step off the plane. For those training at Shakespeare’s Globe or the West End, you will make invaluable contacts and benefit from small masterclasses with London theatre professionals.
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, Roehampton
Rhys acts as the university contact for PAA students studying at Roehampton on semester or summer programs. He finalizes course schedules, coordinates university orientation events, provides academic advising, and acts as a liaison between PAA and Roehampton’s academic departments of dance and theatre.
Rhys is the Study Abroad Manager at the University of Roehampton. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Modern Languages having spent a year researching the televised media and working in France, and volunteering in Ecuador. Rhys and his team work closely with Performing Arts Abroad throughout a student’s time in London to ensure they return home having had a transformative experience.
Despite a Tony-worthy performance in a school production of a TS Eliot play, Rhys today finds himself much more at home seated in front of the stage rather than performing on it. A long time resident of London, he enjoys the performing arts across the city from world-class productions at the National Theatre to exciting new works off-West End. Drop by the office to discuss cheap ticket strategies.
Rhys firmly believes there is no city quite like London and no campus as friendly as Roehampton. He can’t wait to meet you in person.
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.
“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.”
The program was amazing. everything we did was a memory i’ll carry with me forever. the classes were all helpful and being able to see the shows and meet people in the industry gave me a real insight on the job i want to pursue.
“Having the opportunity to work with professionals that were currently performing in West End shows was so unique, and it really helps you learn what they have to do on a daily basis. We got to learn choreography from active West End shows, and then in some cases went to see the shows and could see what we’d learned being performed.”
“I found this program really fun and it was great to get a taste of a city I’ve always wanted to visit : London! I made lifelong friendships and had some amazing experices!! I would definitely recommend studying abroad through PAA!”
From the blog
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|Session||Application Deadline||Start Date||End Date|
|Fall Semester 2020||May 01 2020||Sep 16 2020||Dec 19 2020|
Important Fall 2020 Dates
|Event||Start Date||End Date|
|Arrival||September 16, 2020|
|Orientation||September 17, 2020||September 19, 2020|
|Welcome Week||September 21, 2020||September 25, 2020|
|Roehampton Classes start||September 28, 2020|
|West End and Globe classes start||October 11, 2020|
|Bath trip (estimated)||October 17, 2020|
|Midterm break (no classes)||October 31, 2020||November 8, 2020|
|Stratford-Upon-Avon trip (estimated)||December 5, 2020|
|Classes end||December 18, 2020|
|Departure||December 19, 2020|
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 complete and upload the following materials:
- Official university application / enrollment form
- Your academic transcript
- For musical theatre applicants, audition videos:
- You singing at least 16 bars from two contrasting songs, with at least one being from a musical
- A video showing your current dance level (can be a video with other dancers, as long as we can clearly identify you)
- Your availability for a 30 minute Skype interview
- The Skype interview is our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
- For your audition videos, pick videos that are high quality and material that has a strong opening. For the songs, be sure to demonstrate your ability to act on song, and not just sing well.
- Talk to your financial aid office and academic department to see if any of your financial aid, grants, or scholarships can be used for your semester abroad. Federal aid should apply as long as your school will accept academic credit from Nazareth College and the University of Roehampton, both accredited institutions.
Participants must be 18 or over the day they begin the program.
GPA / Student Status
Preference is given to students with a 2.8 GPA or higher and students can apply to the program in any year of their degree, including freshmen. If your GPA is lower than 2.8, you are welcome to submit an application with a letter of explanation, and we will consider each application on a case by case basis.
There is no foreign language requirement for this program, as all instruction is in English.
We give preference to applicants with at least one year of theatre experience, although all are welcome to apply. While the training courses require a baseline skill level to join, the courses at Roehampton are often suited to a variety of levels.
We are looking for open-minded, flexible applicants who can clearly convey their passion for theatre and an acute interest in international travel and exposure to new ideas.