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…
Take classes in acting, singing, dance, stage combat, puppetry, audition techniques, and more in the studios of the iconic Dominion Theatre…the same studios where they rehearse West End shows! You will workshop West End shows with current West End cast members, go backstage in West End theaters, and see a West End musical as a group every week, giving you the unique opportunity to see your instructors onstage doing the same material they’ve been working on with you in class!
Weekday classes run from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., followed by an hour for lunch and workshops in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays are longer masterclasses such as mock auditions with casting directors and agents, and Q&As with directors and other theatre professionals. Performing Arts Abroad’s London site director will lead excursions for the group every week, such as a tour and performance at Shakespeare’s Globe, a tour of Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms, and afternoon tea as a group.
To view and download the complete day-by-day itinerary from Summer 2019, please click here. Summer 2020 details will be added closer to the start date, but we do not anticipate any big changes.
To view and download a list of some of the instructors that have taught on this program in the past, please click here.
Are you under 18? Check out our Musical Theatre Training in London for Teens program where you experience similar training while living with high school students from around the world in a 16th century Hogwarts-style castle and boarding school!
“I really enjoyed this program. You will learn a lot about the theatre industry and what it is actually like to work as an actor. It was incredible to work with actual West End performers and learn from their experiences. My favorite thing about this program, though, was going with a group of other people and getting to know them over the course of the three weeks. You really become like a family and grow as performers together. It made the experience so much more worthwhile to come out of it with friends who share your passion for the art form.”
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 the award-winning Bat out of Hell. Prince of Egypt runs February 4 – September 12, 2020. 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 vibrant cities for musical theatre in the world, and the West End is the center of it all. Perhaps no other area in the world can boast the variety and quality of musical theater performances as one will find in the theaters of the West End, such as the renowned Lyceum Theatre, London Palladium, Dominion Theatre (where you will be training every day), and Apollo Victoria Theatre, which seats over 2,500 people.
London’s exciting energy is contagious and will have you hooked the moment you arrive. In addition to the vibrant theatre scene, you will have the chance to explore the historical, political, and cultural landmarks of the city with other participants. From Big Ben to the London Bridge, 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 shared apartments (flats) with shared rooms. Single rooms may be available at an additional cost (this is not guaranteed). Specific information regarding your session’s housing will be announced closer to the start date of each session. However, with any option we arrange participants will be housed in Zones 1-2, which is considered Central London, meaning you will have access to some of the best sights in the city. All flats are in a secure building with 24-hour access. The facilities have internet access, a shared kitchen for cooking meals, a shared living area with a television, bathrooms, and a desk and chair in each room. You will be within walking distance to public transportation, whether that is a bus or a Tube station. This is how you will get around London and also the way you will commute to the studios and theatres. An unlimited ride Oyster card is provided for the first week of the program, and you can top it up as needed after that.
Basic amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, etc. will be easily accessible, but please be aware that you may have to take a bus or walk a few blocks in order to do grocery shopping; this is normal for most Londoners.
You will share your room with one or two fellow training participants of the same sex. The flat will have several bedrooms, with one or two bathrooms depending on the size. The Performing Arts Abroad group size is usually between 20 and 30 people of varying ages averaging 18 to 25, who join a dozen or so additional international 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 in the same scenes and choreography you’ve been workshopping in the studio with them. 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 Saturday of arrival. Our Site Director Anna 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 will travel with all of you to the housing where everyone will be given a welcome pack. You will have 30 minutes to drop off your bags and freshen up, and then you will gather for a 30 minute housing orientation with the housing supervisor. After this, Anna will lead the group on a walking tour of the neighborhood and will point out important sites such as ATMs, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. Following the neighborhood tour, Anna will take the group out to dinner and an orientation about the program, health and safety, the city of London, and British culture. At that point, you’ll be exhausted and ready for bed! The next day is a free day to explore the city on your own or with your new friends before diving into the training on Monday.
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, you are free to explore London with other program participants, and we will also provide excursions such as a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and afternoon tea as a group. We will provide tickets to several shows for the entire group, but you will also be encouraged to see shows on your own. Many past participants have seen over a dozen show during their few short weeks in London!
To view and download the complete day-by-day itinerary from 2019, please click here. The specific itinerary for the 2020 summer sessions will be shared with the group a few weeks before departure once we know the (ever-changing) schedules of the industry professionals who will be working with you.
The West End is London’s equivalent of Broadway, and arguably more prestigious. Our program’s founder—herself a West End veteran having appeared in numerous shows including Les Misérables, the Sound of Music, and Billy Elliot coupled with extensive work on BBC television—heads a core of instructors who have in-depth experience performing as well as teaching. Thus, 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 based on West End shows, your instructors will have been or will currently be performing in that very show. Classes will be 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 a list of some of the instructors that have taught on this program in the past, 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.
“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.”
“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 had a great time while studying abroad. I learned so much. I would honestly do it again if given the opportunity. I met a lot of amazing people and I hope that what I learned serves me well in the future.”
From the blog
Angus Stevens is a high school student from Nova Scotia, Canada, who attended PAA’s High School West End Musical Theatre Training in London over the summer of 2017. The high school program is for PAA Travelers ages 16 and 17.…
Courtney Widgerson participated in the West End Musical Theatre Training Program in the Summer of 2015. A few weeks ago I got back from London, I was there for 3 weeks, participating in the West End Musical Theatre Training Program. Before…
This post is part of our #PAA5Years Scholarship celebration. In honor of 2016 being our 5th year of operation we’re offering scholarships to favorite programs in FIVE different destinations. Today we’re highlighting London where our RADA and West End Training…
|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
|Three Week Session||$5,995|
|Two Week Session||$4,915|
|One Week Session||$3,660|
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 and singing 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. The video must be uploaded to YouTube as ‘unlisted’ to allow easy access for program administrators.For advanced dance, you should have had dance lessons previously for a minimum of five years in jazz/modern/ballet or musical theatre. You should be confident at technique work such as pirouettes and picking up choreography. For the audition videos, you will upload 3 videos of you dancing to include: 1. Pirouettes (both sides) 2. Kick sequences of your choice from the corner (demonstrating kicks on both legs) 3. One to two minute dance routine showing technique.
For advanced singing, you should have knowledge of different vocal parts and how the voice works – larynx and vocal mechanisms, breathing, etc. You should have had singing lessons for a minimum of 2 years or relevant experience. For the audition videos, please send us videos of you singing 2 contrasting songs that show your technique and range. At least one needs to be from a musical.
Participants must be 18 or over the day they begin the program.
GPA / Student Status
There is no GPA requirement for this program, students and non-students are welcome to apply.
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 and given the option to submit audition videos for singing and/or dance. Decisions about levels will be made in early June.
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.