WELCOME to our blog documenting Bradley University Theatre’s
International Study/Rehearsal Experience in London focused on
William Shakespeare and The Tempest.
Bradley University Theatre is known for creating dynamic learning experiences and creative projects that challenge our students to grow as theatre artists and this International Study/Rehearsal Experience in London is no exception.
In February 2012, the Department of Theatre Arts is once again innovating the theatrical experience for our campus. Joining with Loyola University and Western Illinois University, we are creating a three university Shakespeare festival (3U SHAK3SF3ST) that will further Bradley’s national reputation, create unique collaboration opportunities for our students, and showcase their talents to a national audience.
Bradley University Theatre’s creative contribution to this festival will be a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. To develop this production and give our students a truly dynamic, once-in-a-lifetime learning experience, we have developed in collaboration with the International Studies Office a unique learning experience that would allow the student cast of The Tempest to explore Shakespeare from a historical, literary, and performative perspective while rehearsing the play in London.
This Blog will document the student’s experience while in London.
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A SPECIAL THANK YOU:
Funding this innovative and dynamic learning experience for our students was accomplished through the generosity of many individuals.
The Department of Theatre Arts extends a gracious thank you to all who assisted in making this opportunity a reality!
Randy and Karen Jacobs, Donald and JoAnne Koller, the Foley Family, the Iben Family, President Joanne Glasser, Provost David Glassman, Dean Jeff Huberman, Associate Dean B.J. Laurence, Emeritus Professor Jim Ludwig, Duffy Armstrong, Joan Wilhelm, the Office of Sponsored Programs, Dr. Charles H. Maris, the Office for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (OTEFD), Kim Willis, the Faculty, Staff, and Students in the Department of Theatre Arts, Debbie Perry, the Cast and Crew of Imagine, the Children’s Home Association of Illinois, Jody Smith-Brown, Bradley’s International Programs Office, Dr. Christine Blouch, Marian Phelps, Kathy Stinson, Bradley’s Financial Aid Office, Dave Pardieck, Bradley’s Controller’s Office, Pratima Gandhi, Dennis Koch, and of course, the students committed to this experience, their parents, and families.
Thanks to all of you for your support and efforts to give our students this tremendous opportunity.
ABOUT THIS EXPEDITION:
The Cast of The Tempest departs for London on January 1, 2012 and returns to the USA on January 16, 2012. During the two weeks in London, the eleven members of the student ensemble will collaborate with two Bradley faculty members to explore Shakespeare from a historical, literary, and performative perspective through a wide variety of activities.
- Rehearsal of The Tempest: The International Studies Program has secured a dedicated space for the ensemble to rehearse while in London. Rehearsal will take place three – four hours per day, six days a week, the same schedule we utilize when developing a production on campus. Rehearsals will consist of dramaturgical exploration; blocking and choreography; character, motivation, and conflict development; text work; and musicality through a deconstructive and reconstructive collaborative process. Upon return to the USA, the ensemble will have three weeks until our first performance in Chicago so this foundational rehearsal is crucial to the success of the performance and the growth of the students as performers.
- Performance Studies: London is the live theatre capital of the world. While in London the ensemble shall observe four Shakespearean productions including Twelfth Night at the New Diorama Theatre , Measure for Measure by the RSC,Comedy of Errors at the National, and (hopefully) Richard II at the Donmar Warehouse. Following each of these viewings students and faculty will hold discussions on the critical issues presented in the production, critique performance and production aspects, and explore lessons learned and their application to our current work on The Tempest. Students will be encouraged to take advantage of the myriad opportunities to view other live theatre productions while in London as personal schedules permit.
- Historical Sites and Museum Visits: London is the literary and theatrical home of Shakespeare. There are several significant historical sites young scholars of Shakespeare should explore. The Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames in London is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote. The ensemble will tour the Globe to experience how the Elizabethan playhouse functioned as a theatrical “machine” and what impact that that has on the actor-audience relationship. Additionally, students will also have the opportunity to have a private viewing of the foundations of the Rose Theatre dating back to 1607. There are many other historical sites across London the students will visit including the site of The Theatre in Shoreditch – the first theatre built in London in 1576, the Southwark Cathedral and the grave of William Shakespeare’s younger brother Edmund, Middle Temple Hall where Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night was first performed in 1602, the British Library which has a permanent exhibit of Shakespeare’s literary work and several of his original signatures, and the National Portrait Gallery which as several paintings of Shakespeare and other important Elizabethans. In addition to exploring historical sites in London, the cast will take a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and his grave at the Church of the Holy Trinity along with the other Shakespeare properties in the town.
- Workshops and professional guest visits: The student cast of The Tempest will participate in a performance based workshop at the Globe Theatre where they will have the opportunity to use the Globe Theatre space as a unique resource to develop core skills as they rehearse in the architectural conditions in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally produced. The Globe stage is a vehicle through which students can increase their knowledge of Shakespearean performance, past and present. Additionally, we have several Bradley Alumni who are working in theatre and other fields in London and the faculty have many professional colleagues also working in the theatre in London. Opportunities for the cast to meet and talk with these professional guests will be arranged as part of the experience.
This international study/rehearsal experience in London focused on William Shakespeare and The Tempest is truly a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for our students that will transform their lives as young scholars and artists giving them unique advantages in their theatrical futures.
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