London is the city where the arts community come to life and keep things interesting. The city's rich history of theater and Shakesperean influence makes this an ideal place to pursue theater and creative arts with CAPA. Check out what's in store for you!
1. See a Ton of Amazing Shows
It can be a bit overwhelming to see how many shows there are in London to see, but that’s the best part of studying abroad! You have your whole time there to see as many as you can and there are even affordable ways to do it. While I was in London I got to see several shows—I only spent more than 45 pounds on ONE show (and to see Ian McKellan it was totally worth it). But take a moment to think outside of the box and see some smaller shows that aren’t on the West End; seeing a small interactive piece about homelessness in children in London was one of the most memorable experiences I had.
2. Take a Shakespeare Class
Of course, if you’re going to study theatre in London, you may as well take Shakespeare and London. It’s an incredible class and always keeps things interesting. Beyond learning about his life and reading his work, the class discussed his plays, some sonnets, and sees three shows together and discuss them. One of my favorite memories at CAPA is my entire Shakespeare class laying on the floor together to watch the movie version of Richard III.
3. Go to the Globe
Othello at the Globe.
As part of the Shakespeare class I was able to see Othello at the Globe and for my Arts Administration: Creative Industries in a Digital World class we were able to take a tour of the Globe and learn the history of the theatre. The one you’re able to visit now isn’t the original Globe but if no one told me that I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference. Shakespeare nerds will love this one almost as much as the next one on this list!
4. Visit Stratford-upon-Avon
And, of course, the next on our list is Stratford-upon-Avon. This was one of the excursion trips I went on with CAPA London for a day in Stratford and Oxford. We got to see the town where Shakespeare grew up, his house, his school, the church he went to and was buried in, and the house he lived in with Anne Hathaway. There are performers everywhere and so much history in this little town. It was one of my favorite trips while in England.
5. Do a Research Project
While studying with CAPA I was given the opportunity to do a grant research project on a topic I was interested in while being overseen by one of my professors. I chose to do a project on Shakespeare and ended up creating a video about "Why We Still do Shakespeare". I was able to interview other CAPA students interested in Shakespeare and my amazing Shakespeare professor, and create a still-lasting bond with the professor who oversaw my project. The video project earned me an award of Outstanding Academic Achievement that I received at our closing ceremony.
6. Leicester Square
If you’re going to check out theatre in London, then Leicester Square is an absolute must! I spent lots of free time in Leicester Square, and was in the TKTS line every weekend looking for more shows to see for as cheap as possible. This is the heart of the West End and puts you within walking distance of famous shows like Les Miserables, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 42nd Street, and The Woman in Black.
7. London Horror Festival
A ticket to The Woman in Black.
For any horror fans, the London Horror Festival is an absolute must. Over the course of a few weeks, hundreds of horror art events and theatre performances take over London. I was lucky enough to see a play written by one of my dear professors at the Old Operating Theatre of London (which we got to visit during a class trip for our Arts Administration class) that I absolutely fell in love with. Even if horror isn’t your thing, it’s a great chance to see another side of the London theatre community.
8. The Bloomsbury Festival
When I got to London I was given the opportunity, along with other CAPA students, to volunteer as part of the Bloomsbury Festival. The Bloomsbury Festival is an arts, culture, and science festival that takes place throughout London. Although I wasn’t able to participate in the festival while studying abroad, it’s a really great opportunity to make connections and immerse yourself in the artistic side of your new city!
9. Take Creative Industries
Arts Administration: Creative Industries in a Digital World was my favorite class at CAPA! We had a small class and an amazing professor who I am still very close with now, a year after my semester abroad. We touched all sorts of topics, and were all able to contribute our opinions, thoughts, and experiences to the discussions. In this class we had several amazing guest speakers who talked to us about being arts administrators and artists who make a difference, as well as some really great class outings to places like Shakespeare’s Globe, The Old Operating Theatre, and a few arts exhibits and museums.
10. Get a Certificate in Global Creative Arts
By taking Arts Administration: Creative Industries in a Digital World, taking 2-4 other classes at CAPA, and completing an internship in a creative field, you can get a certificate in Global Creative Arts. This was an amazing decision for me! I’m so glad I was able to complete this certificate and it has given me so many new opportunities now that I am back in the US. It allowed me to really immerse myself in the artistic community of London and explore places and ideas that I would never have thought of otherwise. I was also able to create deep, personal relationships with other CAPA students, professors, advisors, and other artists and administrators in London through my classes and internships. My CAPA experience would have been incomplete without this opportunity; it has opened new doors for me, brought me to new opportunities, and has ultimately led me to making new decisions about where I want my career to go that I could not be happier with.
Melody Marshall is a Senior at Rider University studying Arts Administration. Melody studied abroad in London with CAPA in Fall 2018 and participated in our Creative Arts Certificate program.