Every day as a student doing a study abroad program at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is different. Our professors, teachers, and guest lecturers are all working professionals, so our class times change from day-to-day to fit their schedule. We have practical sessions in movement, acting, and voice, as well as more academic classes about the history of The Globe and the productions they create.
Every morning I take the Tube and then cross the Southwark Bridge, surrounded by regular Londoners going to work and school like I am. Even from my first day of class, it made me feel comfortable to be here. When I get to the theatre, I sign in at the rehearsal studios and get coffee with other students at the staff café. It’s so exciting to be one of many people in a working theatre; I like to get a coffee and work on my lines, watching other students and staff members go by. As an actor, it’s amazing to be in such close proximity to the professional Globe actors going about their day.
Today, our first class was with a member of the band who plays for different shows. It was a lot of fun to play different Renaissance instruments, even if we were terrible about it. Classes like this are a fun change from regular college lectures: I love the freedom to experientially practice what we’re learning and ask questions about whatever interests us, rather than sticking to a strict syllabus.
Today we got 2 hours for lunch, so we walked about 15 minutes to Borough Market, which is a huge food market that has everything you could possibly imagine in an old train station. I like the market because there are tons of free samples. You can try any combination of food you want: maybe a classic meat pie, some local honey, and gelato!
After lunch, we go back to The Globe for a workshop about text and then 2 hours of rehearsal for the scenes we’ll perform on the last day of classes (we’re doing scenes from As You Like It). My favorite part about classes is getting to work with professional actors and teachers. My acting teacher has a lot of experience performing in classical plays across different theaters with different techniques (he was even in a movie with David Tennant!) and it is so cool to hear about his experiences. Having so many amazing teachers has also taught me that there are many different ways to get involved in what you love—you don’t have to just be an actor or a singer, there are tons of options!
We get out of class at 6:30 PM and some of us get in line to see Hamlet at the Globe, one of 3 shows they’re currently performing. Standing room, or “groundling,” tickets only cost 5 pounds! This is my favorite way to end our school days, because we get to see everything we’re learning about and working towards put into use. It reminds me why I love performing!
This post about being a student at Shakespeare’s Globe was contributed by Sarah Wilson, who is doing a study abroad program with AIFS this summer in London, England.